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Four members of Tennessee church killed in single-engine plane crash near Yoakum

The plane went down near CR 462 and FM 318 in Lavaca County shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday.

LAVACA COUNTY, Texas — Four people died and one was taken to the hospital after a small plane crash in Lavaca County.

The victims were traveling to South Texas from Tennessee, all five of them belonging to the congregation of Memphis-area Harvest Church. On Tuesday evening church officials held a vigil remembering the victims, writing on Facebook that "their loss currently leaves us without the proper words to articulate our grief." 

The four who died were identified by the church as Bill Garner, Steve Tucker, Tyler Patterson and Tyler Springer. The individual in the hospital is Kennon Vaughan, the lead pastor at Harvest Church. 

The church provided a positive update on Vaughan's condition Wednesday afternoon. 

"Kennon has been extubated and is breathing on his own. Prayers right now are for pain management and for no infections to develop. We are grateful that reports on his spine and brain are clear, and we ask you keep Kathryn in your prayers as she is by Kennon's side," they said. "As always, the surviving members of the Tucker, Garner, Patterson, and Springer families are continually on our hearts and in our prayers."

The crash happened near CR 462 and FM 318 in Yoakum, Texas, and is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The Yoakum Municipal Airport is within a mile of the plane crash site. The plane involved was a Piper PA-46-350P aircraft.

"The Piper PA-46-350P aircraft near Yoakum, Texas was scheduled to land in Lavaca County but crashed in an open field around 10:50 a.m. today," Texas DPS said. "Five occupants were inside the plane. Four died and one is in stable condition being treated at Citizens Medical in Victoria, Texas."

Investigators filled the open field in the hours after the crash, where debris littered a small area. They spent the afternoon and evening collecting evidence as they work to determine what happened. 

An NTSB investigator is expected to be on the scene sometime Wednesday morning. They will document the scene, examine the wreckage, and request available information from air traffic communications, radar data and weather reports. 

Preliminary information could be available by the end of January, but a full investigation could take up to two years. 

This is a developing story and further details will be added as they are received. Check back to this article for updates.

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