Tuesday, December 30, 2014

After surviving Thanksgiving plane crash, Reid doctor’s family expects great Christmas

Note: The following was submitted prior to Christmas...

Mirhta Morales, Bryce, Barbara and Dr. William Fisher clasp hands
while talking to a TV reporter at Reid
Dr. William and Barbara Fisher remember praying for a safe trip – as they always do before a flight – before taking off from the Richmond airport on a Thanksgiving trip to Michigan with their son, Bryce, and his girlfriend, Mirhta Morales.

Mrs. Fisher remembers grabbing Mirhta’s hand and praying again as she felt trees brushing the underside of the single-engine Piper. She knew it was crashing in Berrien Springs, Michigan, suffering an engine failure just a couple of miles from their destination. She doesn’t remember anything else until she woke up later in a hospital.

With Mrs. Fisher now recovering in the Acute Rehab Unit at Reid, the Fisher family says there is one thing they will never forget – the power of prayer. “God preserved the lives of all of us,” Dr. Fisher said recently while the four gathered in Mrs. Fisher’s room at Reid. A pilot for 45 years, the doctor finds it truly miraculous that all four are alive.

The plane came down within a few feet of a home in one direction, a river in the other and trees and power lines all around. Photos at the time show the plane in at least two pieces on the ground. They were strapped in seats upside down, with Dr. Fisher and Morales able to get out but with Bryce and Mrs. Fisher pinned inside.

Dr. Fisher immediately began helping get the rest of his family out of the plane, not knowing he had broken ribs and five cracked vertebra in his back. “I didn’t even know I was injured,” he said, with his immediate reaction to be a physician to his injured loved ones.

Earlier this week, right after they gathered in Mrs. Fisher’s room to tape an interview with a Sound Bend area TV station, they said they just wanted everyone to know how thankful they are for their survival. They believe they experienced a miracle and answer to their prayers of protection. “The Lord gave us new life again,” Dr. Fisher said.

Bryce Fisher told the TV reporter that he did not panic when the engine failed. “I don’t remember panicking. I don’t remember thinking ‘this is it.’ It was just complete tunnel vision … between the engine dying and actually hitting the trees, we probably had 25 to 30 seconds.” He said if they’d hit the home, nearby trees or the river, they likely would not have survived. The plane landed upside down, and Bryce Fisher said his head was in the snow. “It was by the hand of God that we’re alive today.”

Morales is recovering from injuries to her leg. Dr. Fisher is feeling fine and in the process of letting his injuries heal with time. Bryce is also doing well – he had no broken bones but had gashes and cuts, and a serious injury that required oral surgery.

Mrs. Fisher is expected to continue her recovery for several months after serious injuries to her hip and shoulder. While in the Acute Rehab Unit, she is undergoing regular physical therapy as she continues her path to recovery.

As they clasped hands in front of the TV camera, Mrs. Fisher reinforced her thankfulness for answered prayers. The family is hopeful that Mrs. Fisher will be able to go home Christmas week for a celebration with the family – a celebration that is even more special for them after their ordeal.

“It will be a great Christmas,” Dr. Fisher said.

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