Exclusive video of plane going down in Melton Hill Lake [WARNING: Graphic language]

By: Stephen McLamb Email
By: Stephen McLamb Email
Investigators have identified the two men killed in the crash of a home-built plane into Melton Hill Lake Saturday afternoon.
A boater, Jonathan Shultz, trained his camera on it.

Exclusive image of the sea plane that crashed into Melton Hill Lake on Saturday June 6, 2009, killing two people.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Investigators have identified the two men killed in the crash of a home-built plane into Melton Hill Lake Saturday afternoon.

But they're still trying to figure out why it crashed.

The pilot was 40-year-old Bret Smith of Pleasant View. His passenger: 54-year-old Ron Siedentopf of Knoxville.

Dozens of people saw their plane crash. But only one, had a camera rolling, and caught it all.

Knox County authorities say the victims had been on a fun flight in advance of a party for the passenger's son.

A boater, Jonathan Shultz, trained his camera on it.

All through his video you hear him express concerns about how the pilot was flying his experimental aircraft.

"We basically, we literally watched two men die," says Jonathon Schultz.

Saturday June 6th was a day Schultz will probably never forget. What started out as a fun day of wake boarding on Melton Hill Lake turned into a real life theater of two men plunging to their death in an experimental aircraft.

Schultz says when he first saw the plane in the air, he wanted to email some video to his dad.

"I was like cool. I'll be able to send him this video of this sea plane landing on the water. This is going to be great," says Schultz.

But something concerned him about how 40-year-old Bret Smith was flying.

"He's going to crash. He doesn't know what he's doing! He's being incredibly unsafe."

Smith went on to land successfully before taking off again for the last time.

"It seemed to me any novice would look at this and say either this guy has too little airspeed or too little altitude," says Schultz.

As Smith banked for a left turn, the plane continued to roll over shooting straight into Melton Hill lake at a sixty degree angle.

"As soon as that plane hit the water it never came back up and it could never be seen," says Schultz.

That didn't stop Schultz and others from getting into water filled with airplane fuel not even thinking what a spark or a lit match could do.

"We were just like there were some guys here in trouble and we're going to jump out and see if we can do something. I don't know what that was," says Schultz.

Shultz says he was able to retrieve only some of the items that floated, including Smith's wallet.

His friend Carol kissing Smith's license before putting it back.

"I'd never seen that before and it's sad," says Schultz.

Schultz says he's really enjoys being on the lake wake boarding. But after this, he says he didn't think he could go back out today.

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  • by Ben Satterfield Location: Meton Hill Lake on Jul 17, 2009 at 10:40 PM
    WVLT - Look at the comments - My uncle and friend died in this while we watched. The guy filming has no clue and I am sure he knows it now. Geat idea to make it an "Exclusive" - it is yours now. Do the right thing!! I have waited a month to comment but now that I see you are getting hits and selling adds here I understand your motivation. Saving lives or selling adds on a webpage? HMMM? Tennesse folks and many others have made it loud and clear - Take this down now!
  • by David Location: Clarksvile on Jul 14, 2009 at 09:28 PM
    Bret Smith was my Algebra teacher last year, he was a wonderful man. I think this video should be removed on behalf of his family and friends.
  • by Charlotte Siedentopf Location: Melton Lake way on Jun 14, 2009 at 11:57 PM
    Pleas take this off of your web site - This is really hurting me and my family. Charlotte Siedenotof
  • by Smarty on Jun 14, 2009 at 04:35 AM
    Somebody teach these commenting hicks how to turn off their speakers! Go watch Fox news if you want edited bias crap. This is the real world. Stop pleading for censorship. I bet all you numbnuts believe in GOD. Go pray for only good things to happen and see how he reacts. "god please make all the things i think are bad go away so i can live in happyland." This video has warnings all over it for the things you guys have such a hard time viewing/hearing. If you don't want trouble don't go looking for it! "The truth" said it perfectly. Stop being so self righteous.
  • by Smarty Location: Clarksville on Jun 14, 2009 at 03:29 AM
    The last time i saw Bret i was at his house with a ton of his family and friends and i remember him WAILIN' on his harmonica with a rockin' band. That guy was something else...awesome man. It's hard to comprehend he's gone. I can't believe all the people that have commented on this video getting all caught up on what Jonathan said about the plane crashing before it did. It's not like he shot the plane down guys, he was just talking. Seems to me "common sense" isn't what it used to be (especially in "the south"). You can see his concern when he says "GO! Just GO!" shortly after the plane crashes. I watched the video to see what happened to my friend Bret. I was curious to see the circumstances of the crash. Seeing it through Jonathan's eyes was fine and hearing what he said had no effect on me. I don't know Y it outraged so many of U. I think what Tom (from Pensacola) said was frightening. Is that a death threat?? You guys really need to relax! Stop hating so much (and learn to spell).
  • by Jeff Location: Knoxville on Jun 13, 2009 at 06:47 PM
    I'm not sure who the biggest TOOL of this bunch was. The ignorant man doing all the talking or the moronic women. Hoping for a plane crash??? And to take stupidity to an even higher level, this genius actually thought it would be way cool to let people see the video he made. If he had 1 oz. of a brain he would have kept this mess private. Please MOVE! You bunch don't deserve to live in this state. It is very sad that the relatives of these poor people have to listen to these idiots. How do you feel now Shultz? Idiots. The sad part is these tools that filmed this are still too stupid to realize how pathetic they look; they are too busy giving each other high 5's thinking they are way cool.
  • by The truth Location: Knoxville, TN on Jun 13, 2009 at 06:23 PM
    To everyone that has commented on Jonathan's commentary...if the plane had landed safely would you still be so critical of what he said? I think not. STOP being so SELF RIGHTEOUS! It was a terrible accident and may God be with the families of those that parished.
  • by jeff Location: clarksville on Jun 13, 2009 at 02:29 PM
    I just sat down and watched this video for the first time with my wife, who happens to be Bret's sister. It was painful to see my brother in his last few moments, and even more painful to see my wife cry watching this video. I knew it would be sad, so that is why we waited a few days to watch it...my surprise was at my anger that is directed at the boy who recorded it...Jonboy, all I can say is that your insensitive, uneducated play-by-play of the video hurt my family. You have truly shown everyone what a classless individual you are, and even if I wanted to tell you that I want to wrap my hands around your neck, I can't, because you are clearly a child...and that would be child abuse. Keep your damn opinions to yourself.
  • by amanda on Jun 12, 2009 at 02:57 PM
    i hate the guy that video taped this. the review above makes him sound like he was concerned and he was saying all those vulgar things. i hope that guy feels so awful after what he said and it actually ended up happening. i hope you have a nice life with that on your conscience jonathan. mr. smith had been my math teacher for 2 years and it killed me to watch this video and it outraged me to hear what jonathan was saying. i love mr. smith and everyone needs to pray for his wife and two little kids.
  • by Tom Location: Pensacola on Jun 12, 2009 at 10:29 AM
    I have been a member of Rons family for 40 years and this was a tough vidio to watch.To mr. Schultz all I can say is maybe you will get a chance to be famous 1 more tine and have your tragic death caught on vidio and played out for the world to see. Maybe you wont have to wait long


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