Friday, February 20, 2009


We know these folks quite well.

As she is a Venezuelan citizen and they were living in the city rather than a village, this was the only mission plane left in the country of Venezuela. They were only allowed to do humanitarian work under close supervision by the National Guard, but their presence was a great blessing to the Pemon indians of the Gran Sabana.

Please pray they will find the plane soon.

In Venezuela, Adventists continue search for missing medical plane

National aviation authority ceases search after 72 hours; church hiring rescue service

Adventist missionary pilot Robert Norton with his wife Neiba lead out the Adventist Medical Aviation based in Gran Sabana, Venezuela. Their plane went missing in southeastern Venezuela Monday, February 16. [photo courtesy AMA]

Seventh-day Adventists continue to search for a missing medical missionary plane, which disappeared Monday, February 16 in the jungles of La Gran Sabana, a vast southeastern region in Venezuela.

The Cessna 182N plane piloted by Robert Norton, who volunteers for Adventist Medical Aviation (AMA) in Venezuela, is believed to have hit turbulent weather after taking off from the community of Carun en route to the community of Bethel.

Also in the plane were six passengers: Neiba Norton, wife of the pilot; Gladis Zerpa, an Adventist teacher; a woman accompanying a 14-year-old and a woman traveling with her young son.

"Our church is really distraught about the news of this tragedy," said Rodolfo Escobar, Communication director for the church in Venezuela.

Escobar said church members in Gran Sabana began searching for the missing plane as soon as they heard the news. The National Civil Aviation Institute, along with several air rescue and non-government organizations, immediately began their search but stopped after 72 hours.

The church has continued today to search the area by contracting air rescue organizations.

Escobar said there were several accounts from villagers in the adjacent areas of Carun who heard the plane's engines go silent at some point during the stormy weather.

"We have formed groups to search in the air and several more groups on foot to scour the region where the plane communication was last heard," Escobar said.

Norton, the pilot, has more than 20 years of flying experience. For the last eight years, he has served as director of AMA Venezuela, which is based on the campus of La Gran Sabana Adventist School in Santa Elena de Uairén in Bolivar. His wife Neiba is a registered nurse and works with indigenous people in the region.

The AMA is an international project established about 12 years ago. AMA provides emergency medical transportation and evangelistic support to dozens of otherwise inaccessible villages.

En castellano aqui!


Mrs. C said...

Praying right now!! I hope they find your friends very soon!!

Liz said...

I have not seen this in the local news Rita...

shirlgirl said...

Clint and Rita, I just read your facebook comments and we want you guys to know that we are praying for this couple. I know that your hearts are heavy and wish that you could go and be a part of the search team. We will pray for you guys also. When I read your post and things I can tell that your hearts are still deep in the jungles. God bless you. We love you and support you.

Sarah Joy said...

I promise to pray about this!

The Localmalcontent said...

Yes. Of course, prayers for their recovery and safety.
What a selfless, blessed job you missionaries do.
Yes. Of course, prayers.

Brooke said...

You all have our prayers!!!

Mountain Mama said...

I hadn't heard anything about this. I pray that they will be found soon and well.

Charles said...

It's almost bed time as read this, but I will take the time to pray before I sleep. Please Please keep us updated as well as you can.

Betty said...

Will be praying for them!

Thursday's Child said...

I hope they're found soon.

Dani Joy said...

Oh my! I will definately pray! May they be found safe. "God protect these servants."

Brenda said...

So sad! I wonder what happened? Keep us posted as we pray.

Deedra said...

YES! I do know him! I am trying to get in touch with his son now. Thank you for letting me know! I am praying for them now!

Charles said...

I understand that the news ( media ) sometimes gets confused covering a story such as this. But I fly a Cessna 182 myself and my plane can't carry the seven passengers as suggested in this story.

Still praying

Jungle Mom said...

Charles, the baby is a new born in arms only days old.

Rosie Cochran said...

Praying for those on this plane. The days of waiting are so hard for all those who know them. Keep us posted.

Carlos said...

Hola, yo no hablo ni escribo ingles pero aqui les dejo mi mensaje en español..

Mi nombre es Carlos Gutierrez y soy hermano de Neiba Gutierrez de Norton esposa del Capitan Robert Norton, ambos de la Aviacion Medica Adventista con base en la comunidad indigena de Maurak Santa Elena de Uairen Gran sabana estado Bolivar venezuela...

Queria darles las gracias por todas esas oraciones y ayudas que todos ustedes hermanos y amigos de mi hermana y robert que les estan dando para que los encuentren sanos y salvos..

Hasta ahora no tenemos mas noticias nuevas, siguen buscando via terrestre y aerea ya son muchos dias pero seguimos teniendo esperanzas..

Gracias por todas sus oraciones,

Carlos Gutierrez.

MikeKopp said...

I've been praying for these missing missionaries. God knows what happened! With His permission, perhaps while on earth we will learn of it too. But if not, then in heaven. Keep faith! Though we are weak and nothing, God is powerfull and can do ANYTHING! I cannot read spanish so I translated the above Spanish text using an internet translation service. Translation follows:

"Hi, I do not speak or write English, but here I leave my message in Spanish ..

My name is Carlos Gutierrez and I am a brother of Neiba Gutierrez Norton wife of Captain Robert Norton, two of the Adventist Medical Aviation based in the indigenous community of Santa Elena de Maurak Uairén Gran Bolivar state Venezuela savannah ...

I wanted to thank you for all the prayers and support you all my brothers and sister and friends of Robert are giving them to find them safe and sound ..

So far we have no new news, still looking for land and air as many days but we still have hope ..

Thanks for all your prayers,

Carlos Gutierrez"