Three members of the Tennessee Air National Guard died Tuesday morning after a civilian aircraft connected to a Lebanon airplane club crashed in McMinnville after a series of flights earlier in the day.
The Warren County Sheriff’s Department identified the three victims as Jessica N. Wright, 37; Scott Bumpus, 53; and Shelli D. Huether, 45.
The three Airmen served with the 118th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group. Lt. Col. Huether as director of operations for the 118th Intelligence Support Squadron; Capt. Wright as assistant director of operations for the 118th ISS; and Senior Master Sgt. Bumpus, chief of current operations for the 236th Intelligence Squadron.
“Words cannot begin to explain the shock, grief, pain and dismay we feel having lost three remarkable members of our Guard family,” said Col. Todd Wiles, commander of the 118th Wing. “All three were dedicated to the service of our nation. Their families are in our hearts and our prayers.”
The Federal Aviation Administration’s initial incident report listed the crash as an accident that occurred under unknown circumstances.
The Piper PA-28 airplane, which is registered to the Lebanon Flying Club, crashed near the Warren County Memorial Airport, and the ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the aviation community,” Lebanon Airport Manager Heather Bay said. “Regarding (Tuesday’s) tragic aircraft accident in McMinnville, I can confirm that the aircraft in question took off from the Lebanon Municipal Airport earlier in the day and flew to couple other area airfields before the crash.”