However, there was an accident that occurred after Dad arrived home. Thank the Lord no one was seriously hurt. The accident occurred Thursday morning PNG time (Wednesday evening USA time). The pilot was hurt, but not seriously as far as I know. He was quite shaken up though. Please pray for him. No one was at fault. It was just one of those unusual things that could not be helped. Below is the account of the accident as Mom explained in her email. Thank you so much for praying.
To make a long story short, when the pilot was pushing down on the tail end of the plane, like they usually do to make sure the tail won’t hit bottom when they take off, apparently the emergency brake popped. The plane started rolling, and Ray (the pilot) ran to try to get in and stop it, but couldn’t get the door open. It was going too fast too, and the plane hurt his leg. He wasn’t sure if the wheel ran over his foot or what. But maybe it was good that he didn’t get in it, or he could have been killed. Anyway the plane flipped over and ended up-side-down in the gully off the side of the turn around area. It may be a total loss.
Poor Ray was really shaken up, especially as he began to stop and think that there were several things he could have done to prevent the accident. It was a blessing that SIL (Wycliffe) was here at the same time, and the SIL pilot was able to help comfort Ray and pray with him and offered to stay with him as long as needed. Ray did need to come down to the house for a while just to sit down and not be looking at the ruined plane.
As soon as possible, NTM came in with another plane. They had to go down into the gully to get some things out of the other plane. We have plane seats and a box of other equipment sitting out in the meeting room for tonight. The pilots wanted to get the radio and GPS out of the plane too. They hope to come back tomorrow and said they can probably salvage some other parts from the plane.
Right after the other NTM plane arrived to help, the weather changed drastically and it started raining. We had one of those bad rain storms with cold, strong winds, the kind where water leaks into our house in all kinds of places where it doesn’t leak other times. I don’t think we’d had a rain storm like that since last year some time. The temperature dropped about 20 degrees in just a few minutes – from about 75 to 55. The poor pilots were out there working in the rain and cold and wind, trying to get things out of the plane. Since the plane tipped over, fuel was leaking out of the wing tanks, and there was danger of fire. The medical worker happened to be up there with a loud speaker, making some public announcements, so he was able to warn people to keep clear of the wreckage. When the storm ended, the sun came back out, and both NTM and SIL were able to head home. The remains of the wrecked plane will probably remain in Owena for a long time to come.
NTM came in with the helicopter this morning and brought four mechanics. NTM met together yesterday to decide what to do, and they are going to try to salvage as many parts of the plane as possible. (Otherwise it is a $200,000 loss.) They will probably be here all day today and Monday andTuesday too. They said that there was no fault on the pilot Ray’s part. Even though he feels somewhat responsible, he did everything that he was supposed to do. After they get a few more parts off the plane, they want to try to flip it back upright. Mike (the helicopter pilot) said he has seen lots of accidents but never one of this kind.