September 17, 2013

Three Dead, 13 Injured in Florida Church Vehicle Accident

Three members of a Seventh-day Adventist Church congregation in Florida are dead and 13 more are injured following a tragic September 14 accident on Interstate 75 near Ft. Myers, media reports indicate. The Florida Conference has expressed sympathy over the deaths and injuries.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident occurred on an overpass when a church van’s tire exploded and the vehicle flipped over several times before coming to rest on its roof. The Maranatha French (Mission Group) Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lauderhill, Florida, operated the van, which was en route to a Haitian Adventist Convocation in Tampa, Florida.

Nostra Damas, 20, of Lauderhill, apparently died at the scene of the crash. Osee Elian, 22, and Gertha Petit-Frere, 62, both of Sunrise, Florida, succumbed to their injuries the next day.

“Our hearts at Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists continue to be saddened from the news of two additional deaths as a result of the van accident that occurred [Sept. 14],” a statement from the conference said. “We continue our prayers for the families of the three victims who died and pray for God’s healing on those still recovering from the accident.”