Plane Crash in Kenya

My sister Dawn and her husband Ryan Williams are missionaries with Africa Inland Mission (AIM). They live in Nairobi, Kenya with their four children: Caleb (8), Levi (6), Seth (4) and Chloe (2.5). Ryan is a Flight Engineer (mechanic) for the AIM AIR fleet. The mission of AIM AIR is to support missionaries and ministries throughout East Africa. If you have ever been to Africa then you know how bad the roads are. Many missionaries live hours away from the city and it can take days to get to their homes. AIM AIR manages a fleet of small aircraft that transports missionaries and supplies to small villages throughout their Region. Their motto is "Serving those who Serve" and they do it with excellence.

Ryan works full-time at the hangar while Dawn works full-time at home, caring for their children and running the home. Together they live on a compound with other missionary families. The compound is filled with support staff, pilots, mechanics, and happy children. It is a very close-knit community.

Dawn's best friend, Tiffany and her husband Frank, live on the same compound. Frank is a pilot for AIM AIR while Tiffany works full-time at home, caring for their four children.

On Saturday, August 1, 2009, Frank and Ryan took 2 photographers from Conversant Life for a plane ride over Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa. The back door of the plane was removed so that the photographers could get great shots of the slum. Near the end of the flight the engine stalled and while Frank was trying to glide the plane to an unexpected landing along a road, the wing of the craft clipped some telephone wires. The plane flipped over, crashed into a building, and fell three stories to the ground, engulfed in flames.

Frank died.

Ryan, my brother-in-law, was pulled from the aircraft just a few minutes before the plane exploded.

The other two passengers assisted in saving the life of our dear Ryan. They themselves suffered injuries but are doing well in a Nairobi Hospital.

Ryan suffered lacerations on his face, 40-50% of his body is covered with 2nd and 3rd degree burns. He also suffers from a broken left hip and a crushed pelvis. Yesterday Ryan was transported via a medical aircraft to Jo'burg, South Africa to receive further care.

These last few days have been days of chaos. We are all in mourning for Frank and his family. I cannot begin to imagine how they are doing. Frank's Memorial Service will be Tuesday, August 11th in Nairobi.

As for our family, we are in shock. Ryan is a stubborn fighter and for this I am thankful. He works with this hands, tinkering and fixing things we didn't know were broken. He is an adoring father and husband and passionately in love with our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is also a fantastic brother-in-law. We are lucky to have him in our family.

Yesterday his mother arrived in Nairobi and tomorrow my mother will join the Williams Family. The entire family has to fly to South Africa to join Ryan (and then eventually to the States? But I'm not sure). The Moms flew in to help Dawn pack up the entire house or put it in storage, to help care for the kids, and to support my sister as well as the community on the compound.

Just a few hours ago my mom called me with a new update on Ryan: he was put on Dialysis today to support his kidney function and is now considered unstable. Please pray with me for Ryan, for Dawn, and for Tiffany and her family.

And a few minutes ago my mom told me that Ryan was re-assessed today. The burns actually cover 70% of his body. Survival rate for burn victims greatly diminishes after 60% of their body is burned.

Please pray for all of us.

Websites for more info:
CNN Article
AIM AIR updates
Conversant Life


  1. Diane, I am sorry about all of this. It is so incredibly tragic. You and your family will be in our thoughts and prayers. - Chad

  2. praying. Please keep us updated.

  3. Jason Boyd (Media Director)August 7, 2009 at 2:30 AM


    The folks in the European office, Nottingham, have been praying every day for Ryan and the Toews family.
    We're also thinking about you and the children at this time too.

  4. Thank you, everyone.
    Ryan went Home today.
    Please continue to pray for our families as we mourn his absence.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I worked with Dawn at Blodgett after being classmates at Calvin. My husband is a pilot/mechanic. Thanks for posting, I am so glad you are there for Dawn. We will continue tp pray for your family, soo sorry!

  6. I was shocked to hear about what happened. My husband and I both went to LeTourneau with Ryan, and had the pleasure of meeting Dawn at the wedding (and having the family visit us in Tucson). He will be missed by all who knew him at LeTourneau...
    The family will be in many, many prayers.

  7. We extend our sincere Christian sympathies and prayers to you Diane and to your family at this time of great sorrow and loss.

    In this time of loss may God, who quiets the winds and calms the waters, hold you close and give you peace. John 14:27 May you also KNOW that the Good Shepherd is going before you during this difficult time.

    We worked with AIM in Kenya for 31 years and met and got to know Dawn before she married. Before we returned to MI in 2007, we saw Dawn, Ryan and boys at annual mission conferences. Our daughter is a close friend of Dawn and plans to attend the service on Sat.
    With our Love, prayers and with His promised comfort, Marcia and Leland Hovingh