One of the two survivors of the Sosoliso crash of 2005, Kechi Okwuchi, who has been described as an epitome of possibility, strength and determination, joined Titi and Yomi for a chat on #WakeUpNigeria.
Dating back to when the incident happened, she shared;
It’s something that happened in December 10th, 2005, here in Nigeria. It was a transit flight from Abuja to Port-Harcourt because I was in Loyola Jesuit College for secondary school and myself and sixty (60) other students from my school were heading home for the Christmas holidays and so, it was that flight that kind of went crazy towards the time when the plane was about to start landing.
The pilot made the announcement that we would be landing in the airport and the flight had been fine so far, there was no reason to panic, but then, all of a sudden, this storm happened that kind of threw everything into chaos and I remember in the cabin, every one was kind of panicking.
I had my very close friend next to me and I held her hand and I remember she was like’ What do we do? and I was like, ‘I don’t know, maybe we should pray’ and before I could actually say anything, the next thing I remember is hearing this sound like metal scrapping sound right in my head and then I was waking up 5 weeks later in a hospital in South Africa.
So eventually, i heard that one hundred and seven (107) of the one hundred and nine (109) passengers on board, including the flight crew had passed away and so there were only two survivors, my self and another lady who didn’t get burned ‘thank God’.
I myself, I had third degree burns on over 65% of my body.
Speaking on her recovery journey and how she was able to handle the situation after 13 years, she said;
There’s definitely this sense of dejection you feel in moments, in the time when you feel like ‘Is this really going to be my life forever?, Am i going to be always in and out of the hospital?, Then the itching that comes with the healing and all that stuff.
In those moments, I can say for sure that my Faith which went through some sort of revival after the accident was a big part of what kept me sane, my family, my support system was the other part, because I don’t think it is possible to do something like this alone.
If you want to overcome, and also kind of maintain what makes you you, I mean your identity, you need people around you who would remind you of who you are, and that’s what my family and my friends did for me and my Faith just kind of centered me. It was what pulled me out from a lot of dark times basically.
Moving on to how she started supporting victims of burns too, she said;
I’ve always wanted to go back to normal life, do what I just wanted to do regardless of any kind of accident and then I also wanted to be able to use what happened to me as a beacon to shine on other people who are going through cases like this. It doesn’t have to be burns or serious external injuries, it can just be anything you are going through that’s causing an obstacle in your life.
I wanted to be able to tell people that ‘You can do what you want, you don’t have to let things that happened in your past define your future steps. They can be a part of the reason why you do what you do but you don’t have to kind of let it be your entire story’ and so I wanted to represent that by the way I live my life as well as with the words that I speak.
So it’s been really a pleasure that I’ve got that kind of opportunity and especially since Americas Got Talent, to be able to be the kind of Ambassador for people.
Kechi who was also the first runner up of the America’s Got Talent 2017 speaks on her musical career and how she wants to move from doing just musical covers to working on her own songs.
Watch interview video below:
Watch her performance below: