The FAA said in an update Monday evening that “the aircraft is submerged in a large river channel (destroyed). Divers were unsuccessful in their recovery efforts to locate any POB’s.”
Hamilton County EMS spokesperson Amy Maxwell confirmed debris from a crashed plane was found in the water near Camp Vesper Point Monday afternoon.
Maxwell says crews began searching the water of Hobo Bluff, near Lee Pike in the North Soddy-Daisy area. Rescue agencies from the Sale Creek Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Dallas Bay VFD and STARS responded.
Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Matt Lea said in a news conference that the debris found appears to be from a plane fuselage.
In a statement, Maxwell says by 2:48 p.m., rescue crews confirmed the plane debris was moving south very rapidly in rough water with 3-4 foot waves.
Spokesman Lea says the search area consists of water that 40 feet deep in some places.
The FAA says the plane involved in the search is a fixed wing, single-engine plane with four seats. It appears to be an older plane.
A FAA spokesman also says the Chattanooga air traffic control tower got a phone call from Hamilton County’s 911 operator about several reports of an explosion followed by an aircraft crashing into a wooded area.
Recovery efforts will begin again on Tuesday morning, with sonar in use.
Maxwell says they haven’t yet confirmed how many people were on board. Several other questions remain unanswered.
“We don’t know how many souls were on board. We don’t know what kind of plane it was, how large of a plane it was, how many it actually carries. So, that will have to be determined at a later date once they’re actually able to find the rest of the fuselage,” said Maxwell.
Following days of non-stop rain and high winds, conditions made any rescue attempts nearly impossible.
“We have a dive team that is considered a forensic dive team. They are on the scene. They are trying to get in the water, but when you have that deep of water with that current and the waves and the wind, it is just not a good situation. We want to make sure our guys are safe. we don’t need to add any more problems to this,” said Lea.