Plane crash investigation progressing

More details are emerging in the plane crash that took the life of industry executive James Scarlett, CEO of Scarlett Inc.

The aircraft, a single-engine, Piper PA-32 Saratoga plane, crashed on April 12 in the woods near the Claxton, Tennessee, community in Anderson County. The Anderson County Sherriff's Office reported that the plane broke apart in flight and luggage and parts of the plane were scattered throughout the wooded area. 

Scarlett, who was piloting the airplane, after leaving the Wood Industry Conference in St. Peterburg, Florida, at 11:28 a.m. Friday and arrived at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville at 3:31 p.m. for refueling. He took off from the airport at 4:17 p.m. en route to the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids.

Anderson County Emergency Management Agency Director Brice Kidwell clarified to Woodworking Network some confusing reports that the Federal Aviation Administration released. "Initial reports," he said, "stated that there were two souls on board the aircraft, but after confirming with McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, that when he stopped to refuel the aircraft there, he was the only soul on board."

A joint task force from Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Emergency Management Agency, Anderson County Emergency Services, and Claxton Volunteer Fire Department released a timeline of the incident.

On Friday April 12th, at approximately 1617, a Piper PA-32 Saratoga departed McGhee Tyson Airport en route to Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids Michigan.

At 1643, Anderson County 911 Communications Center, received a 911 call from a citizen on Tillery Road stating they heard a low flying aircraft and a loud noise shortly after. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene on Tillery Road, and located various parts to what appeared to belong to an aircraft. Shortly thereafter, the Anderson County 911 Center received a notification from Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) of an Emergency Location Transmission (ELT) in the area of Highway 25W and Edgemoor Rd. Crews from Anderson County Emergency Management, Anderson County Emergency and Rescue Squad, Anderson County Emergency Medical Services, Claxton Volunteer Fire Department, Oak Ridge Police and Fire Departments, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to Incident Command Post to coordinate a response to locate the downed aircraft.

At 1832, the aircraft was located by Tennessee Highway Patrol and foot units, at 429 Gadsontown Ln. Powell, Tennessee, with one deceased victim on board. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Board (NTSB) were contacted to confirm that the downed aircraft was located. The body of the deceased individual was taken to Knox County Regional Forensics Center to conduct further examination.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Emergency Management Agency, and Claxton Volunteer Fire Department coordinated with the FAA and NTSB to recover debris from the area. The recovered aircraft will be taken back to Atlanta for further examination. 


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).