UPDATE 5:05 P.M. HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Officials with the NTSB have released a statement following a deadly small plane crash in Hawkins County.

The NTSB is investigating the May 15, 2020, crash of an Ercoupe 415 airplane, that occurred in Rogersville, TN.  Although an NTSB investigator will not travel to scene, we are gathering information and evidence by working with the FAA and local authorities who are at the scene. The FAA will facilitate the removal of the aircraft which will be taken to a secure facility for further examination if necessary, at a later date.


News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel was at the scene Friday evening as the victim’s mother, Alta Summers, identified her son as James Hansford Summers.

“He worked with planes where he was in the air force for many year,” said Alta. She and several of his sisters came in from Virginia to the crash site. “All my family is here… it’s hard,” she said.

Anslee also received the following photo of Summers from his sister, Katie Jessee.

Shortly before that interview, Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told media during a news conference that the victim in the crash would be taken to the William L. Jenkins Forensic Center at ETSU for positive identification.

“It was real big, it was popping and cracking and everything,” said witness Ronald Seals. He says he and his mother called emergency crews. “We all ran up there and I just kept saying ‘I hope and pray they got out,” said Deborah Seals.

The plane crashed in the front yard of a home on Main Street in Surgoinsville- right near the runway at the Hawkins County Memorial Airport.

“He had actually taken off from the airport and was returning to the airport,” said Surgoinsville Police Chief James Hammonds.

That crash bringing a federal investigation.

“From early indication-it seemed like he was having engine trouble. We have the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board coming and they’ll be doing an intense investigation,” said Hawkins Co. Sheriff Ronnie Lawson.

While crews worked the crash… planes continued to fly over to land at the airport.

“It’s a very rare occurrence for this county to have an airplane crash,” said Hawkins Co. EMA Director Jamie Miller.

The Federal Aviation Administration is set to begin their investigation Saturday morning.



UPDATE 3:18 P.M HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Officials with the FAA released a statement following Friday afternoon’s fatal plane crash.

“An Ercoupe clipped a tree and crashed in the yard of a home in Rogersville, Tenn., at around 2 p.m., today. The aircraft was on approach to Hawkins County Memorial Airport when the accident occurred. The pilot was the only person aboard; check with local authorities for the name and condition. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident. “

Photo: WJHL



UPDATE 2:51 P.M. HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Hawkins County Sheriff Ronnie Lawson confirmed with News Channel 11 that one person was dead following a small plane crash Friday afternoon.

That plane crash reportedly happened near the airport in Surgoinsville.

Sheriff Lawson said they will be issuing a news release about the incident Friday afternoon.

News Channel 11 has a crew on the way to the scene to bring you the latest developments on-air and on WJHL.com.



HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- An airport employee at the Hawkins County Airport in Surgoinsville has confirmed a small plane crash Friday afternoon.

That small plane crash happened near the airport, according to the employee.

We’re told emergency crews are on the scene.

News Channel 11 has a crew on the way to bring you the latest developments.

This is a developing story. Stay with News Channel 11 on-air and on WJHL.com for the latest.