Four dead in Tennessee plane crash near community health center

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 04, 2014 3:26 AM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - Four family members died in an airplane crash in Tennessee on Monday that nearly struck a crowded community health center and retirement village, federal and local officials said.

The twin-engine Gulfstream aircraft, which was flying from Great Bend, Kansas, crashed before 5 p.m. local time in Bellevue, about 15 miles outside of Nashville's John C. Tune Airport, where it was heading, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department said.

The plane was registered to a Kansas company, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

The pilot and passengers had not been identified but were believed to be related, officials said.

The plane missed its first approach to the airport and was preparing for a second try when it crashed, leaving a stream of debris for up to about 80 yards, police said.

"Something caused it to be very low. There is a report that it maybe banked just a bit, impacted the trees, and went down in that yard beside the YMCA," said Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron. Three bodies had been recovered.

The crash, which damaged cars in the YMCA's parking lot, could have killed dozens of people inside the building, said Jessica Fain, a spokeswoman for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee.

"Although members do not check out when leaving our facilities, scan reports indicate that as many as 300 people likely entered the building between 3 (p.m.) and 5 p.m.," Fain said.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni in Nashville, Tenn.; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Catherine Evans)