TVA reducing water flow into Chickamauga Lake to aid search for crashed plane

TVA reducing water flow into Chickamauga Lake to aid search for crashed plane

Search suspended for the evening, will resume Wednesday

January 8th, 2019 by Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

A search and rescue inflatable return to the ramp at the Possum Creek ramp on Chickamauga Lake Tuesday as others search for wreckage from a Monday plane crash that is believed to be in 30-50 feet of water in the main channel near Soddy-Daisy.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

This story was updated Jan. 8, 2019, at 6:01 p.m. with more information.

LATEST UPDATE: The search for a crashed airplane is being called off for the night, sheriff's office spokesman Matt Lea said.

Authorities are in the process of pulling all boats out of the water, he said. The search will resume early Wednesday morning.

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The search for a crashed airplane resumed early Tuesday morning as local law enforcement staged their crews and equipment at the Possum Creek RV Park and Campground boat ramp.

The search for a crashed airplane resumed early...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

UPDATE: The Tennessee Valley Authority is reducing water flow into Chickamauga Lake to assist in the search for a crashed plane, a spokesman confirmed.

Water is still being released, just not as much. That will calm the river's currents so recovery crews can better search for the downed plane and any of its occupants.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency has no plans to investigate the crash at this time.

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ORIGINAL STORY: The search for a crashed airplane resumed early Tuesday morning as local law enforcement staged their crews and equipment at the Possum Creek RV Park and Campground boat ramp. 

At this point, law enforcement is treating the search as a recovery effort rather than a rescue, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea said. And investigators have not released any names or confirmed how many people may have been on board the plane when it crashed.

A search and rescue inflatable return to the ramp at the Possum Creek ramp on Chickamauga Lake Tuesday as others search for wreckage from a Monday plane crash that is believed to be in 30-50 feet of water in the main channel near Soddy-Daisy.

A search and rescue inflatable return to the...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Any names will be released once they've been confirmed and proper notification has been made, Lea said.

In the meantime, owners of Hixson Aviation and Dallas Bay Sky Park said in an email to their customers that the aircraft was based out of Dallas Bay with possibly two people on board.

"Please keep the family and friends of those involved in your thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time," owner Mark Winton said in the statement. "May god bless all involved and give them comfort in their time of need."

So far, only pieces of the airplane have been found, Lea said.

"Operations like this take a lot of time, there is a lot of effort that has to go into the logistics of the investigation, moving the aircraft once its found," Lea said, asking boaters to avoid the area near the crash site so recovery crews can search.

Based on how far the wreckage traveled in the fast-moving currents, it could take days or even weeks to locate the plane and any bodies, he said.

Once the airplane is located, a salvage crane or barge will be brought in to lift the plane out of the water, Lea said. That process will be handled carefully in order to protect any evidence that may explain what caused the crash.

"This may require input from salvage professionals, depending on the level of the airplane, as far as how deep it is in the water, also as far as how much damage has taken place to the main fuselage," Lea said.

He asked anyone who believes they've found a piece of the plane is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 423-622-0022.

 


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