UPDATE: Ultralight crash kills one in Polk County
Witnesses said the glider hit a patch of air causing it to veer and then crash into the ground. A group of bystanders attempted to help save Gary Church before first responders got to the scene.
UPDATE: A GoFundMe page has been set up for the wife of the ultralight crash victim, Gary Church of Athens. The page is to help the family pay for funeral expenses.
HOW TO HELP | Funeral Expenses for Gary Church GoFundMe page
PREVIOUS STORY: The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a fatal crash involving an ultralight aircraft.
The crash happened Saturday at the Chilhowee Gliderport in Benton, Tennessee killing Gary Church of McMinn County.
Sheriff Steve Ross tells Channel 3 the two-seater aircraft went down after 12:30 p.m., killing one person. He says the FAA is investigating the crash.
Witnesses said the glider hit a patch of air causing it to veer and then crash into the ground. A group of bystanders attempted to help save Gary Church before first responders got to the scene. For Linda Davis it is a Saturday afternoon she will never forget.
Linda Davis spends her weekends at the Gliderport in Benton. After a long week she enjoys flying above the mountains taking in the view. Saturday her quiet day took a heartbreaking turn. “I just gone up myself in an ultralight and came back and was in the office getting ready to pay when this guy hit some air and went down.”
Davis recalls hearing the crash and fearing the worst. “I heard him go up, and then you heard the engine change sound and heard the ground, the dirt, the thud.”
She was one of the first people to help the man before first responders showed up.
“I am an registered nurse, I got there as fast as I could to give support to the fella'. There was gas everywhere, it was tragic.”
Gary Church of Athens didn't survive the crash but Davis believes his memory will live on in the sport he loved. “It was a sad scene, but this fella' left the world doing what he wanted to do. He couldn't have passed out of this world in a more beautiful place.. at the base of those mountains.”
The FAA is investigating the crash and will release more information once the details are finalized. Church's body was sent to Nashville for an autopsy.
Stay with Channel 3 for more on this story.