Missionary, Son Arrive In Triangle After Plane Shot Down In Peru
Posted April 23, 2001
RDU INTERNATIONAL — A missionary who lost his wife and daughter when their plane was shot down by the Peruvian air force is in the Triangle.
James Bowers and his son Cory, 6, are spending some time with relatives in Garner after surviving the incident. They arrived atRDU Internationalon Sunday.
Bowers wife, Roni, and their 7-month-old daughter, Charity, were killed by gunfire Friday when the plane they were in was shot down. The pilot of their plane managed to land the Cessna in the Amazon River despite being shot in both legs. He is being treated at a Philadelphia hospital.
It is believed the Peruvian air force shot down the plane after being notified by a CIA plane that it might be carrying illegal drugs.
"Ronnie and Charity were tragically killed and we're suffering that loss. I'm sure we'll fee l the loss more as time goes by," said family spokesman David Southwell. "The family is obviously suffering a great loss, but I can say that Jim and Cory both are very, very stable. They're strong people."
Many are wondering how people who gave so much to Peru could be killed by the country they loved.
"Those people he loved in the village saved them from the plane in a dug out canoe and helped them after they landed after being shot down. They are friends, the Peruvians, and they are perplexed about this as we are," says Southwell.
Sunday morning, friends and family held a service for the mother and daughter at their home church in Fruitport, Mich.
In Quebec, President Bush pledged to find out what happened, and has suspended further surveillance flights.
The Bowers had been missionaries in Peru for seven years. Despite the tragedy, the spokesman for the missionary group says the incident has not diminished their desire to continue their work.
Reporter: Chip Muller Photographer: Ron Pittman