Family of missing Eastern alum seeking help from U.S. in locating wreckage from plane crash


Eastern alum Sue Borries is missing after a plane crash on a trip from Chame to Contadora.

Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

The family of a missing Eastern alum is asking for the United States government to assist in the search for an Eastern alum who went missing after a plane crash near Panama.

Eastern alum and retired Teutopolis teacher Sue Borries is one of two American citizens who went missing following the plane crash, the other being retired public school teacher Deb Velleman of Wisconsin.

Three others who were aboard the private have been rescued.

The Panamanian government has formally requested assistance locating the wreckage but has not received a response.

According to a press release from a representative of the Velleman family, Panamanian authorities have been conducting around-the-clock air, sea and land searches based on the aircraft’s last-known whereabouts but need assistance to locate the plane.

The families of the two women are asking individuals to contact their congressperson in hopes of receiving any assistance they can.

The press release states, “Both the Borries family—U.S. military veterans among them—and the Velleman family implore their government to send the personnel and equipment required to bring these citizens home.”

The plane the women were on, a single-engine, five-seat Piper Cherokee Six, was heading to Chame from Contadora Island Jan. 3 when the plane went down.

According to The Associated Press, Director of Civil Aviation Authority Gustavo Pérez Morales told the Telemetro television station that the pilot of the plane radioed that the plane was having engine issues and would have to land the aircraft in the water.

“We were able to locate the aircraft’s coordinates at the moment it splashed down, and that is how we were able to carry out the rescue,” Pérez Morales said.

Pérez Morales said the pilot told authorities the aircraft sank so fast they were unable to use the life raft or life jackets.

“I don’t know why they didn’t put on life jackets at the right moment,” Pérez Morales said. “This is a rule that planes flying for a long time over the ocean should have life jackets and a raft for any emergency.”


Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].