Atlantic Caribbean Union

ATCU Church Members Survive Plane Crash

ATCU Church Members Survive Plane Crash
Andrew Burrows, ATCU Communication Department

The Seventh-day Adventist community in the Bahamas, one of the territories of the Atlantic Caribbean Union (ATCU), as well as local residents of the island nation are thanking God for the miraculous survival of five persons after the plane in which they were flying was forced to ditch in waters off of New Providence, an island of The Bahamas.

According to local media reports, on Monday, June 8, at approximately 5:00 p.m., the group left Pitts Town Airport in Crooked Island onboard a Cessna 172 aircraft. The pilot and passengers, who are all related and members of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the Bahamas, were traveling to New Providence.

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Autoria Moss, one of the survivors, recalled that they were just about 11 minutes from New Providence when they heard and saw the only engine on the plane sputter and shut off. She recounted, with expressions of gratitude to God, how her cousin, Anthniqueko Gibson, the pilot of the aircraft, uttered, “We’re not going to make it.” Nevertheless, he took charge of the situation and instructed his brother, Andrew Gibson, to retrieve the life raft from the back of the aircraft and prepare for impact.

As the plane started to descend toward the water, Moss said it was more like a glide. “It almost felt like we were landing,” she said. At the time of impact, Moss was clutching eight-month-old Andre Gibson tightly against her chest. Once the plane was in the water, the other passengers were able to quickly release themselves from their seats and Moss handed the baby to his father, Andrew Gibson.

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After impact, the plane started to sink beneath the water. “I was the last one out of the aircraft as I was unable to get my seat belt loose,” Moss continued. “I felt my Uncle Renzi (Lorenzo Moss) pulling my foot. By this time, I was submerged. It was only God guiding me at this point as I soon realized that the seatbelt was now around my chest area, and I wiggled my way out instead of trying to unbuckle the belt.”

Moss thanked God that the pilot was able to find a shallow part of the water. “Even though the plane eventually sank, my cousin was able to tie the rope from the life raft to the tail of the plane so that we would not drift away from the crash site,” she said.

Moss recalled the ray of hope they felt when within 10 minutes, a plane circled above them, and then a short time later a second plane did the same thing. However, darkness settled in, and it would be a while later before a helicopter circled twice nearby. Moss surmised that probably they could not see them in the dark because the light on the life vest was not working. Eventually, around 11:00 p.m., they got the light to work and within a few minutes, a United States Coast Guard helicopter headed towards them. “It had to be the light from the life vest that attracted them to us. It was such a relief,” she exclaimed.

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Eventually, the group was picked up by a Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) patrol craft. They were transported to the RBDF base in Coral Harbor, New Providence where they received preliminary check-ups. Ambulances then took them to the local Princess Margaret Hospital for further medical tests and evaluation.

The incident impacted the family members of the survivors. Linda Nairn, the sister of Lorenzo Moss and Autoria Moss’ aunt, said, “The family was shaken at first, but now we are giving thanks for the miracle of survival.”

Pastor Howard Barr, the Seventh-day Adventist pastor on Crooked Island where the flight originated and the home of all the passengers, said, “It is only God’s intervention that spared the lives of these five persons. As we look back to Monday evening when news came that the flight did not arrive until now, we can only praise God.”