Officials: Small Plane Missing in Eastern Tennessee

By Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
December 27, 2016 Updated: December 27, 2016

Officials are searching for a small plane that likely disappeared in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. A Florida family was reportedly on board the aircraft.

According to, the Florida Aviation Administration said a Cessna 182 plane was supposed to arrive at the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport. Family members later told the Federal Aviation Administration that the flight never arrived before the FAA sent out an alert.

A man, woman, and a child—David Starling, Kim Smith, and Hunter Starling—were on the plane. They took off from an airport near Lawtey, a city located near Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday at 12 p.m. local time.

Search and rescue crews are looking over an area approximately 15 miles south-southeast of the Gatlinburg airport, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the station.

She said three people were aboard the aircraft that originated from a Jacksonville, Florida-area airport and was reported missing Monday evening. She had no immediate information on the plane’s whereabouts or what happened, AP reported.

No flight plan was listed for the plane.

No evidence of the plane was located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Monday, WBIR-TV reported.

It’s unclear if the plane actually crashed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.