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UPDATE: FAA investigating possible plane parts found in McMinn County field

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FAA officials are investigating the large metal parts found in fields near Calhoun, believed to be from Delta flight 762. FAA officials are investigating the large metal parts found in fields near Calhoun, believed to be from Delta flight 762.
McMinn County inmates helping to search the fields for additional debris. WRCBtv.com photo McMinn County inmates helping to search the fields for additional debris. WRCBtv.com photo
Five inmates from the McMinn County jail are helping with the search. Officials from Delta are enroute to gather the debris. WRCBtv.com photo Five inmates from the McMinn County jail are helping with the search. Officials from Delta are enroute to gather the debris. WRCBtv.com photo
CALHOUN, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A McMinn County family thinks they found the missing part to a Delta airplane, forced to make an emergency landing in Nashville this week. The family stumbled upon the parts when taking pictures in a field at their farm, Barham Jersey Farms. The FAA is investigating whether they belong to the Delta Boeing 717 originally headed from Atlanta to Chicago.

Neighbors near the Barham Jersey Farm went out earlier this week to test their new camera. When they stopped to get a snap shot of the cows -- they noticed a piece of debris; debris might solve the puzzle on what happened to Delta Flight 762. 

The Barham family dairy farm is usually pretty quiet but on Thursday FAA officials, the sheriff's department, and even inmates from the McMinn County Jail filled their fields. They were inspecting and looking for pieces that may belong to Delta Flight 762. “It's kinda crazy, never had this happen out here, it’s pretty cool,” said a family member of the farm, Tanner Barham.

Barham says his cousin and their neighbors were out testing their new camera when they stumbled upon the piece of debris.  He said he saw it a few days earlier and thought nothing of it. “I found a piece of metal in a cornfield, I thought it was a piece of the barn, I had no clue it was part of a plane.”

The family called the FAA Wednesday and on Thursday safety inspectors arrived to examine the pieces. Former NTSB chairman Jim Hall said he can't tell by looking at pictures if this is part of the Boeing 717.  But it's important for all the pieces to be collected and reviewed. “I've seen where even the smallest piece might lead you to understand what happened and make important changes to aviation safer.”

The pieces will go to a lab where inspectors will determine if this incident was human error or a mechanical issue. “This aircraft operates in other fleets and it’s important for aviation safety to try and determine what happened,” said Hall.

With more than 400 acres of land The Barham's said the search will not stop work on the farm. They continue to operate waiting for life to get back to normal. “It's pretty crazy, it happened out here. Nothing ever happens out here, pretty neat,” said Barham.

A Delta spokesman told Channel 3 the investigation continues and they are assisting the FAA with their investigation. The Barham family says 30 additional pieces were located on their farm today in a one mile span.

Channel 3 is still waiting on confirmation from the FAA if the pieces are part of the plane.


PREVIOUS UPDATE: Federal Aviation Administration officials are on the ground in Calhoun and beginning their investigation of the large metal parts that were found in a cow field.

A viewer says her neighbors were testing out a camera, taking pictures of cattle when they stumbled upon the pieces of metal. 

The large metal pieces may be from the engine cowling of Delta flight that made an emergency landing in Nashville, diverted from its route from Atlanta to Chicago.

McMinn County inmates are searching the area Thursday hoping to find additional pieces that could serve as clues to what happened to the plane's engine.


PREVIOUS STORY: FAA officials will be investigating parts found in Calhoun, Tennessee that possibly came off a Delta plane over the weekend.

A viewer sent a picture of the discovery to the Channel 3 newsroom.

A Calhoun family, who does not want to be identified at this time, says they found two separate pieces in farm fields about a mile apart from each other.

READ MORE | Missing Delta plane engine cover believed to be in Cleveland

The FAA has not confirmed those parts belong to the Delta Boeing 717 that made an emergency landing in Nashville Sunday afternoon, after one of the engine covers came off the plane as it flew over Cleveland, Tennessee.

READ MORE | Delta flight makes emergency landing in Nashville 

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen tells Channel 3, the FAA will be investigating these parts as quickly as possible.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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