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Plane Passengers Rescue a Shipwrecked Man

It took a team effort to rescue one shipwrecked Aussie.

Mr. Glenn Ey, a 44-year-old Australian man, was lost at sea. What had been a relaxing two weeks of sailing down the coast became a brutal life-and-death ordeal. During a raging storm, a massive wave flipped the yacht and snapped the mast into three pieces. Helpless and adrift 270 nautical miles off the coast, Mr. Ey activated his emergency flare, and then waited.

Sheltering below deck on the broken boat, Ey couldn't have known that an airplane full of bored Canadians and home-bound Australians were about to be shaken from their mid-flight stupor by the pilot.

The plane's captain, Andrew Robertson, explained that they'd been asked by Australian search and rescue to help locate a distressed yacht. Captain Robertson then brought his plane down to 5,000 ft. and asked crew and passengers to watch for the boat. Robertson admitted that it was like finding "a needle in a haystack." Robertson said, "I had already made a PA announcement telling passengers what we were doing and as we got into the area, I said: "We're coming into the search area, please everybody look out to the window and if you seen anything let us know."

Several passengers and a flight officer using a passenger's binoculars almost immediately spotted the yacht. Robertson dropped the plane to less than 4,000 feet and determined it was the right boat. With the location reported, a coast guard rescue was launched.

After his rescue, Ey said, "I heard the jet overhead, but I didn't know it was for me—I wasn't aware of what had transpired until I got back to land. I think what they did is fantastic."

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Redemption, Salvation—Christ is the One who has sought us out when we were lost. Of course Jesus didn't just fly overhead; he descended into the dangerous waters of our lostness. (2) Lostness—This story illustrates the hopelessness of our lost condition apart from Christ. We cannot save ourselves. (3) Evangelism—We are the people on the plane, actively looking for lost people.

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