UPDATE: January 29 — “An emergency landing or any kind of plane crash is a scary thing, but it’s exactly what pilots are trained for. We are so thankful for God’s protection, as we all walked away without injuries when this happened last October,” John and Abbie said in a statement via Celebuzz. “We so appreciate the love and care so many have expressed toward us!”
The aviation enthusiast, 32, was piloting an aircraft with two other passengers on board on October 29, 2021, when he had to land it in a field in Waverly, Tennessee, after a double engine failure. According to an accident report obtained by In Touch, the Piper PA-30 suffered “substantial” damage but neither John David nor his passengers were injured.
The Humphrey County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee only confirmed that a “family” was involved in the crash, leading to speculation that the two passengers were John David’s wife, Abbie, and their daughter, Grace, 12 months. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the incident.
The former reality star works for MEDIC Corps, a nonprofit organization that uses small planes and helicopters to deliver relief staff and supplies to areas affected by natural disasters. The plane he was flying during the crash was registered to his company, which is based in his hometown of Springdale, Arkansas.
Both the Counting On alum and his wife, 29, are avid fans of aviation. The pair, who both have their pilot’s licenses, took some of their November 2018 wedding photos on a runway next to an airplane. They also held their reception inside in airplane hangar.
When Abbie was pregnant with Grace, the couple announced the news with a photo that showed them in the cockpit of an airplane holding a baby onesie that read, “Baby Passenger on Board.”
To celebrate Abbie’s birthday last year, the family went to the SUN ‘n FUN air show in Lakeland, Florida, with John David’s twin sister, Jana Duggar.
John David and Jana, also 32, are the third eldest children of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, who share 19 kids in total. Their son Josh, 33, was arrested in April 2021 and charged with receiving and possessing child pornography, prompting TLC to cancel the family’s reality series Counting On.
In December 2021, the political activist was convicted on two counts of receiving and possessing child sexual abuse material just over one week after his trial began. He faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each count. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Earlier this month, Josh and his legal team filed a motion for acquittal, asking the judge to grant the former reality star a new trial.
“The evidence elicited at trial does not support a conviction on either count — even in the light most favorable to the Government,” read the motion filed on January 19. “The Government failed to adduce any evidence that Duggar ‘knew that the visual depictions were of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct’ — a necessary element for conviction of each count.”
The 19 Kids and Counting alum has been held in the Washington County Jail in Arkansas since the court declared its verdict last month. He has also been denied conjugal visits with his wife, Anna, with whom he shares seven children: Mackynzie, 12, Michael, 10, Marcus, 8, Meredith, 6, Mason, 4, Maryella, 2, and Madyson, 3 months.
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