Search crews locate plane that crashed into Chickamauga Lake; both victims recovered

Search crews locate plane that crashed into Chickamauga Lake; both victims recovered

Sister identifies second Soddy-Daisy plane crash victim

January 10th, 2019 by Mark Pace and Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea and John Scruggs, one of 10 divers on the department's forensic dive team, talk about challenges and equipment being used to search on Chickamauga Lake for a missing pilot and parts of his plane following a crash on Monday. / Staff Photo by Ben Benton

Photo by Ben Benton /Times Free Press.

Updated at 7:38 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, with more information.

Gallery: Plane crash search

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After four days of searching, two victims were recovered Thursday afternoon from the wreckage of a small plane crash in Chickamauga Lake.

Lynda Marinello (Photo contributed by Marinello family)

Lynda Marinello (Photo contributed by Marinello family)

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Frank Davey / Photo contributed by Richard Cox

Frank Davey / Photo contributed by Richard Cox

Search crews identified several "areas of interest" late Wednesday evening and continued searching those areas Thursday morning, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea said. By about 3 p.m., the aircraft was located near the area where witnesses said it went down — in front of Camp Vesper Point — Monday afternoon. It was in about 35 feet of water.

The victims' families identified them as retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Frank Davey and Lynda Marinello. Both were teachers at Notre Dame High School for several years and the two families became close friends.

"The [Davey] family is saddened to learn of the death of Lynda, which brings us further grief in addition to losing Frank," Richard L. Cox Sr., Davey's childhood best friend, said in the statement Thursday.

Both families thanked the multiple agencies involved in the search, including the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Tennessee Valley Authority, Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Dallas Bay Volunteer Fire Department, Franklin County Emergency Services, Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department and Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Services.

"Truly you are our heroes," Cox wrote.

Both victims' remains were taken to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office, which will be in charge of positively confirming the identity of each victim.

Search crews used side-scan sonar to locate an anomaly on the lake floor, and divers then confirmed the wreckage, according to the sheriff's office.

The damaged aircraft remains submerged. Hamilton County Sheriff's Office personnel will determine how to best recover it in the coming days.

A timeline for recovery has not yet been determined, a news release states, and that timeline will greatly depend on the weather, water conditions, the time required to assess the wreckage and what resources are available to lift the plane from the lake.

But once it's been removed from the water, the plane will be taken to a secure site for further investigation.

The sheriff's office will work in collaboration with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the crash, a news release states.

However, the NTSB is delaying accident investigations and hearings as the partial government shutdown continues.

NTSB representatives have not answered phone calls or responded to emails. A recorded message for the media relations office said all media personnel had been furloughed and nobody would respond until the shutdown ends. The message suggested leaving a voicemail, but the mailbox was full.

"The HCSO would like to offer our prayers and condolences to the family of the victims as they continue through the difficult grieving process," reads a statement from Sheriff Jim Hammond.

Davey's family has said he will be interred at the Chattanooga National Cemetery with military honors.

Marinello will be honored from 2-5 p.m. Saturday in a "celebration of life" at The Urban Lawn, 306 W. Main St., said her daughter, Alaina Marinello, in a statement. The Marinello family welcomes all of her former students, friends, colleagues, "and anyone else who had the pleasure to meet her."

"For those attending we ask you to come as we all remember her-colorful and vibrant: no somber (all black) attire, plenty of color and glitter," Alaina Marinello said. "We aim to celebrate her and she would have wanted everyone to feel comfortable and fabulous."

Staff writer Mark Pace contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @Hughes Rosana.