by John Barnett

This content is part of a series.

The Divine Directions (16 of 40)
Series: Book You Can Trust
John Barnett
Psalm 19

Flight 961

It was a typical flight. One that occurs thousands of times every day around the world. Ethiopian Air Flight 961 took off November 23rd, 1996 from Addis Ababa. Onboard were 163 passengers and 12 crew members. Among those flying that Saturday were Mr. & Mrs. Andy Meakins. Andy was an elder at the International Evangelical Church of Addis. That large Bible-believing church was pastored by a dear friend of mine up until last year. In less than two hours more than 120 people died, including five from Andy's church. Andy never survived the crash.

Somewhere near Kenya the hijack began. An unidentified number of men declared themselves escaped convicts taking the flight to Australia. Then things turned horrible. Brandishing an ax and a supposed bomb they stormed the flight deck. After savagely beating the copilot and throwing him down they proceeded to order the plane to turn eastward. In spite of the nearly empty fuel tank they forced the pilot to continue.

With dangerously low supplies the pilot tried to plead for a refueling stop to no avail. After trying to hug the coast, the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane and so the pilot tried to make it to the Indian Ocean Island of Comoros. When it became evident they would not make it, Captain Leul Abate (2) announced to the cabin passengers, "Listen, guys, we're all dead people, there is no argument now." People began to scream one witness said, others began to pray.

The crash is now well known, captured on the film of a Japanese honeymooning couple. They caught the descent of the 767, dip of a wing, the flip the crash and the disintegration over the water. What the news reports never reported was contained in a fax to us this week. It was the inside the cabin account of Andy Meakins wife who did survive the crash. This is what she told her church . . .

As soon as the captain told us we were going to cras ...

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