Sunday, June 3, 2012
This weekend has been tough as we deal with a tragedy in our missionary community. Saturday the Chitokoloki plane went down into the Zambezi river and the young pilot and his wife were killed. It sounds like the plane was having trouble--witnesses say they saw it swerving as the pilot was following the Zambezi from Chavuma to Chit. Apparently they went under a cable that is across the river for the pontoon ferry, and the tail of the plane got caught, flipping the plane backwards and smack into the river. The Zambezi is very deep there, and as it was about 4:30pm it was shortly before sunset so there wasn't much that could be done yesterday. Today they have been shooting into the river to keep the crocs away while they dive to recover the bodies--by late afternoon they had both J and K's bodies. They were in pretty good shape, so it doesn't look like they suffered. They are leaving behind two little girls aged 3 and 1. The funneral is on Tuesday, and they will be buried here in Zambia; arrangements are being made for the two girls. I did not know them personally--I just saw Jay in passing for the first time on Friday when he stopped over on his way to Lusaka with another missionary from Chit. The couple were out here short term, and they had been out since February. There are several people here who met Jay and have a connection with the people who are dealing with the tragedy right now--it's very sobering to be reminded that no one knows the time when they will be called to glory. It must be really hard for Gordon Hanna at Chit in particular as he is overseeing the recovery operations and no doubt feels somewhat responsible. It doesn't look likely that the plane will be salvageable. Thanks for your prayers--I'm sure the families back in North America also really appreciate them.