Federal investigators look into deadly Marshall Co. plane crash

The crash claimed the life of a 75-year-old Crossville man.
WAFF 48's Savannah Sapp reporting
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 7:31 PM CDT
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ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A weekend plane crash in Marshall County claimed the life of a Crossville pilot.

John Lassiter Jr., 75 was piloting a single-engine Zenith 601XL when it crash-landed off of Mount Olive Drive in Albertville.

Members of the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) took over the investigation. Air safety investigator Aaron McCarter was on the scene to help clear the wreckage.

”It was a high-energy impact. There was a very quick loss of control and the airplane struck trees and terrain behind me about 45 feet. The wreckage was spread over an area of about 100 feet beginning to end, resulting in the injury of the pilot,” McCarter said.

McCarter, alongside Marshall County investigators, spent hours combing through the debris and belongings from Lassiter’s plane while the family looked on solemnly.

McCarter shared that Lassiter had built the aircraft himself and had only completed one test flight before the crash.

”This flight was a test flight, there were two test flights that were conducted. One test flight was on Wednesday of this past week, lasted about an hour, and the other test flight was the accident flight and it also lasted about an hour,” McCarter said.

Pieces of the plane will be transported to a hangar in Griffin, Georgia where McCarter’s team will reconstruct the aircraft and determine what caused it to crash.

McCarter says the NTSB will look at all possible factors to pinpoint the cause of the crash.

”We’re [going to] be looking at the medical history of the pilot as well, and then of course the environment the weather, air traffic control, things of that nature. Now, it was a beautiful day, it was a good day for flying. So right now, it doesn’t appear the weather was a factor in this accident,” McCarter says.

McCarter warns that the process of the NTSB is a lengthy one and true results might take a full year to release.

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