Kechi Okwuchi was just 16 when she witnessed the most horrific event in her life while aboard the ill-fated Sosoliso plane in 2005. The plane had departed from Abuja for Port-harcourt with 110 passengers. 60 of these passengers were students of the Loyola Jesuit college.
When tragedy struck, everyone else on board was killed leaving Kechi and Pastor Bimbo Odukoya’s P.A as the only two survivors. In an interview last year, Kechi recounted how it all happened.
The pilot announced that we were going to land in the airport in about 20 minutes and the plane started descending. I was in an aisle seat which is really unusual for me because I like the window so I couldn’t really see what was going on outside. Suddenly everything seemed different. We were going down way too fast. Someone in the back was shouting. It was a woman’s voice, “Is this plane trying to land?” When she said that, everyone started panicking.
I looked to the side to my friend and she was looking really scared and I was probably looking just as scared. So we held hands and tried to pray, but before we could even start to say, “In Jesus’ name“, there was this really loud, searing sound right in my ear and the next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital.
…I was told by the psychiatrist in the hospital 4 months later that I was the only survivor of all the students and only one of two survivors of the entire flight. I cried a whole lot. I was devastated.
The first person I could think of was my friend Toke Bagru, the girl that was sitting beside me because she was my closest friend. She was the first person I thought of because she had been the last face I had seen before the crash. My mother was there with me the whole time, she’s my rock. She let me cry everything out. I still cry, but I don’t like the idea of being constantly sad about it. If I stay sad and constantly depressed, it’s an insult to their memory. I want to live my life to the fullest, not just for myself, but for them too.
Kechi remains strong and determined to fulfill her dreams. When the Dana plane crashed in June 2012, it was another reminder for Kechi and she reached out to express her sympathies.
Her condolence message sent to IMO STATE BLOG read:
Again, more than a hundred lives are lost in the space of a day. Again, families all over Nigeria mourn the loss of loved ones.
To all who had family or friends in the Dana plane crash, I offer my most sincere condolences as well as my prayers. I pray that the same God who still helps the families of those who were lost in the Sosoliso plane crash of 2005 will also be there for you all in this time of great sorrow, and that He will send his Spirit to minister peace and comfort to you, while giving you the strength to endure.
Most of all, I pray that the souls of your precious friends, parents, children and relatives, will rest in perfect peace.
– Kechi Okwuchi
Kechi turned 23 on Monday October 29th. It has been seven long years of healing; internal and external. Stories like hers are rare and there is so much to be thankful to God for. She is currently enrolled in an American University where is studying Marketing and Economics.
As she forges ahead in life, we wish her God’s guidance , good health and many more years to celebrate.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY