The Mosier family, missionaries for the past eight years, had traveled from their station in Tanzania and were on their way to visit April’s older brother, Keith. He was working on a mission project in Kisangani, Congo, and April was looking forward to seeing him.
A moment later the DC-9 jet engines screamed to full power, and the plane taxied down the runway. The jet had almost reached takeoff speed when there was a bang from underneath the aircraft.
“Something’s wrong with the plane!” Mr. Mosier said, his voice sharp with alarm.
April tensed as the plane braked hard. What’s going to happen to us? she wondered.
With a jolt the aircraft left the runway and shuddered over the bumpy ground, out of control. It was a bone-jarring ride. They were moving at an incredible speed, and April knew something terrible was going to happen. Instinctively she slipped into the brace position and covered her head with her arms.
People screamed around her as the plane thundered to a violent stop.
April glanced at her dad. He was searching frantically for his glasses, which had flown from his face. She looked out the window and saw orange flames shooting up around the aircraft’s wings.
“We need to get out of here, or we’re going to die!” April told her dad.
Leaping to her feet, she bolted toward the front of the economy class section of the plane. In their rush to escape, frantic passengers began swarming into the aisles, pushing, shoving, and shouting.
As April ran forward, she noticed a crack in the side of the plane. A man was already working on it, trying to break it further open. “We’ve got to get it open!” April told the man in Swahili. She also began to work at the crack, tearing and hitting it with her bare hands.
“Dear God, please help me get out!” she prayed.
When the opening seemed big enough, April dove into it headfirst. But she couldn’t make it all the way through. She struggled to get loose, but she was jammed in tight.
As she wriggled to free herself, she felt the man pushing her forward, and then suddenly she tumbled out of the aircraft and onto a pile of rocks.
As April stood up she took in the horrible scene. The jet had smashed through a fence and plowed into the town’s market area. It had crushed some of the buildings. Smoke rose from the wreckage. All around her, in the street and under the plane, people were screaming and crying. Those who were not too injured were running for their lives. Everywhere was terror, chaos, confusion, and suffering.
April looked around for someone who might help her and found a French man who had smashed his way out of the rear section of the jet. His friend was missing.
“We must get away from here!” the man told her. “The plane may explode!”
They ran from the wreckage together. From a distance April looked back at the section of plane from which she had just escaped. Her heart sank as she saw it was now engulfed in flames.
April and the man waited for a while, watching, desperate for a glimpse of their loved ones. But they did not see them come out of the plane.
Finally a soldier approached April.
“You must come with me,” he told her. “A police car is waiting for you. You must ride to the hospital.”
April was in shock. Her parents and little brother were still on the plane. She had never seen them get off. That could mean only one thing: they must be dead.
“Please take me to the ADRA office,” she pleaded with the soldier. Maybe the people at the Adventist Development and Relief Agency could help her. But the man insisted that she had to go to the hospital right away.
On the way there April couldn’t help wondering what would happen to her. Everything felt so unreal, like a dream, yet worse than any nightmare she’d ever had.
Finally the police car pulled up near the hospital. The place was becoming busier as crash victims were brought in. Stunned with grief, April got out of the vehicle.
She was walking into the hospital compound when she saw someone running toward her. A man—a familiar form.
“Dad!” she cried.
With tears streaming down her face, April raced forward to embrace her father.
“I thought you were dead,” she
sobbed as her dad held her close.
“We thought we’d lost you,” he told her. Her father then told her the wonderful news that their entire family was safe! He directed April to her mother and little brother.
April was so relieved and happy as she ran to hug them.
“I can’t believe all four of us from one family are alive!” her mom said. They all felt amazed that God had saved them and brought them back together again. Only little Andrew had been seriously injured and was treated for a broken leg.
At the hospital April saw the man who had helped to make the hole in the wall and had pushed her out of the plane. She was able to thank him for helping her.
Later they learned that many of the people on the plane had escaped through the hole that April had helped to open. Due to her determination and quick action, many lives were saved. Her own family had escaped through the same opening!
After the accident the media flocked to talk with April and her family.
“It was kind of overwhelming to be interviewed on the phone by news agencies,” April says, “but I wanted to praise God’s name.”
Because of this ordeal, April has learned to trust God more. “I feel that He saved our lives, and He helped me through the whole experience.”
April’s Bible was destroyed in the crash, but its promises endure in her heart. Her favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10 (KJV): “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
April has seen the fulfillment of this promise in her own life. She advises other young people: “Be faithful in praying every day and in memorizing Scripture. Be ready to meet Jesus every day.”