Officials recover sunken aircraft from Chickamauga Lake [photos]

Officials recover sunken aircraft from Chickamauga Lake [photos]

January 11th, 2019 by Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

Private contractors on Friday recover the wreckage of a small plane that crashed in Chickamauga Lake on Monday, January 7, 2019. / Contributed photo by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Public Relations Division

Updated at 8:01 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, with more information.

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Private contractors working with the aircraft owner's insurance company recovered the main portion of a sunken aircraft on Friday after it crashed into Chickamauga Lake earlier this week.

Two victims were recovered Thursday afternoon after four days of searching. Their families identified them as retired U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Frank Davey and Lynda Marinello.

The crash was reported at around 1:48 p.m. near the Hobo Bluff area in north Soddy-Daisy on Monday.

About an hour later, officials found debris, including parts of the fuselage and tail, from a single-engine plane floating in the water and moving south.

But it wasn't until Wednesday evening that search crews identified several "areas of interest." They continued searching Thursday morning and by about 3 p.m., the aircraft was located near an inlet on property in the 3000 block of Lee Pike on Monday afternoon. It was in about 35 feet of water.

The victims were pulled out and taken to the Hamilton County Medical Examiner's Office, where they'll be positively identified.

Efforts to retrieve the damaged airplane resumed Friday morning, and by about 3 p.m. it was hoisted onto a barge and taken to an "undisclosed, secure location" on Chickamauga Lake, where "investigators could control the environment," Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea said.

It was then loaded onto a flatbed truck and was set to be taken to another secure location where National Transportation and Safety Board investigators will work to determine the cause of the crash. The sheriff's office will continue gathering evidence to hand over to the NTSB.

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

The sheriff's office has directed any further questions about the investigation to the NTSB, but all of the agency's media personnel have been furloughed until the shutdown ends. A recorded message for the media relations office suggests leaving a voicemail, but the mailbox is full.

Both Davey and Marinello 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.

Marinello's daughter, Alaina Marinello, asked those attending her mother's "celebration of life" on Saturday from 2-5 p.m. at at The Urban Lawn, 306 W. Main St., to "come as we all remember her-colorful and vibrant: no somber (all black) attire, plenty of color and glitter."

"We aim to celebrate her and she would have wanted everyone to feel comfortable and fabulous," she said.

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

Gallery: Plane crash search

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