Kechi Okwuchi is a singing contestant on America’s Got Talent, who nearly died in a fatal plane crash that claimed the lives of 107 passengers. In 2005, she and one other person survived a Sosoliso plane crash and since then, Okwuchi has had over 100 surgeries due to the burns she endured on over 65% of her body as a result of the crash. It was a Nigerian flight traveling between the cities of Abuja and Port Harcourt, which crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport, as reported by CNN. There were seven survivors on-site, but five later died at a nearby hospital. According to reports, the reason for the crash was that the plane missed its approach due to pilot error aggravated by windshear. Unfortunately, the plane burst into flames when it crashed. The captain on board was Benjamin Adekunle Adebayo. Sadly, there were many students on the flight as well, with 60 of Okwuchi’s schoolmates from Loyola Jesuit College dying.
In a blog on Bella Naija, Okwuchi wrote about her experience in surviving the fatal accident, stating:
Fifteen minutes to the end of the flight, the pilot announced that we were soon to land in the Port Harcourt airport. I remember I was sitting in an aisle seat, and my close friend Toke was on the aisle seat to my right. The ensuing turbulence was getting very frequent, but I didn’t think too much of it until someone from the back shouted ‘Is this plane trying to land?’ I couldn’t see out the window from my seat, but now I think about it that was probably for the best. Everything was so surreal in that moment. I turned to Toke and we held hands, and I was like ‘Maybe we should pray?’ Before we could even start, there was this sudden shrill sound ringing in my ears, and next thing I knew, I was waking up in Milpark Hospital, South Africa. To this day I don’t remember the actual impact of the crash.
She then added that:
The first voice I heard was feminine and unfamiliar; it was a nurse and she kept calling my name, asking me if I could hear her. As I roused, I remember feeling completely numb and completely exhausted in a way I couldn’t quite understand. Eventually I saw my mom’s silhouette; I could tell she was smiling, but I remember wishing I could see her face more clearly, ‘cause my vision was very blurry. As I lay there, I knew that things were pretty bad, but that she was right there beside me made me feel such relief, I can’t even explain.
During Okwuchi’s AGT audition, she talked about her experiences after the deadly crash, recalling that:
Lying down in the hospital bed with bandages from head to foot, music was my escape and that’s why it means so much to me.
After singing on the AGT stage, Okwuchi received a standing ovation.