Plane crashes in US lake, 7 believed dead

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A small plane carrying seven people has crashed into a Tennessee lake, with authorities indicating no one on board survived.

The Cessna C501 crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna after taking off from a nearby airport about 11am on Saturday, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Rutherford County rescue crews were still at the scene of the crash late in the day and planned to work through the night, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Captain Joshua Sanders said at a news conference.

He indicated that there were no survivors.

"Our efforts have transitioned from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort. We are no longer looking for live victims at this point," Sanders said.

He said none of the names of the victims would be released until their families had been notified.

Earlier on Saturday, officials confirmed at least one person had died in the crash and that search crews had found a debris field and identified parts of the aeroplane in the lake. Sanders said the crash appeared to have taken place entirely in the lake.

Authorities also did not release registration information for the plane, which was heading from Smyrna Rutherford County Airport to Palm Beach International Airport.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol told news outlets that a witness saw the plane go into the water near a marina.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA both had investigators at the scene.

Smyrna is located about 30 kilometres southeast of Nashville. Percy Priest Lake is a popular spot for boating and fishing.

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