Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Nov 10, 2014
President and Founder of Bahamas Faith Ministries International (BFMI) Dr. Myles Munroe, his wife, Ruth, and seven others, including two other BFMI pastors, were killed in a plane crash in Freeport, Grand Bahama yesterday evening, officials confirmed.
Authorities said the plane took off from Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) at 4:07 p.m. and crashed while making an approach for landing at Grand Bahama International Airport at 5:10 p.m.
BFMI’s Assistant Senior Pastor Richard Pinder was among those killed in the crash, according to BFMI officials.
The Guardian also understands that BFMI Youth Pastor Lavard Parks and wife, Radel, along with Captain Stanley Thurston died.
One of the victims was said to be a foreigner.
An eyewitness said the plane was flying low over the Grand Bahama Shipyard when it hit a crane and exploded on impact.
The eyewitness said the plane then crashed into the junkyard area.
There was widespread shock as images of the crash quickly circulated on social media sites.
Munroe, 60, was traveling to Grand Bahama where he was set to host the Global Leadership Forum.
The 2014 Global Leadership Forum was scheduled to begin today and end on November 13 at the Lucayan Resort Hotel in Freeport.
Munroe and his wife recently returned from a three-week tour of eight east African nations.
The tragic accident sent shockwaves throughout the country.
On his Facebook page last night, President of the Bahamas Christian Council Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson urged people to “join me in prayer for BFM and the entire Bahamas as we reflect on the life of Dr. Myles Munroe his wife and team who went down in a plane crash today”.
“The Bahamas has lost a giant of a man,” Patterson said. “Please pray for us.”
Prime Minister Perry Christie said he is “deeply saddened” by the accident.
“It is utterly impossible to measure the magnitude of Dr. Munroe's loss to The Bahamas and to the world,” Christie said in a statement.
“He was indisputably one of the most globally recognizable religious figures our nation has ever produced. His fame as an ambassador for the Christian ministry preceded him wherever in the world he traveled, whether in the Caribbean, North America, Asia, Europe or Africa.
“He was a towering force who earned the respect and admiration not only of Christian adherents but of secular leaders both here at home and around the world.
“...Although Dr. Munroe and I disagreed on some matters over the years, I regarded him as both a personal friend and spiritual mentor. I leaned on his counsel in a number of important matters, most recently in the consultations with religious leaders on the pending constitutional bills, a process in which he took an enthusiastic and constructive part, helping even to re-draft one of the bills that had met with a great deal of public controversy.”
Christie offered condolences on behalf of the government and the people of The Bahamas to the families of all of those who perished in the crash.
Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis described Munroe’s death as a “catastrophic blow”.
“Tonight my heart is heavy and like millions around the world we are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of one of the world’s most noted spiritual leaders,” Minnis said in a statement last night.
“This tragedy is both difficult to comprehend and accept but we know that Pastor Myles and his colleagues and family all enjoyed a deep and personal relationship with God and as such are resting in his arms.”
Minnis said Munroe was both a friend and a teacher.
He noted that Munroe gained a “reputation as a leadership guru and was in high demand by governments and corporations internationally”.
“The Bahamas has been blessed because of the tireless and selfless work of one of our greatest sons. He was an author of many books, a number of which are international bestsellers.
“He often remarked that we should die empty having produced all that God has birthed in us. No doubt the world will mourn with us here in The Bahamas.
“We deeply love Pastor Myles and will miss him but shall continue his work to empower others and share the Kingdom principles that undergirded everything he said and did.
“In the upcoming weeks, the Free National Movement will find a more permanent way to remember Dr. Myles Munroe.
“Until then, we wish to remind the public of one of his most powerful and timely quotes, “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.”
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney also offered his condolences.
He noted the positive influence that Munroe had over citizens across the globe.
“As a world renowned pastor and author, Dr. Munroe’s life and work has been a shining example to all Bahamians of God’s ability to work through his human vessels,” McCartney said.
“At the time of his death, Dr. Munroe was preparing to participate in the latest in a series of leadership conferences hosted by his organization on Grand Bahama Island.
“This is indicative of the life Dr. Munroe led. He was always eternally invested in the future and development of our great country, its direction, the strength of its leadership and its focus on the will of God. His work as a religious and community leader over the years has inspired a generation of Bahamians.”
Munroe, who preached for the last time yesterday morning, called on his congregation to pray for him.
One member said Munroe also called for increased prayer for the nation.
American Pastor T.D Jakes and singer Yolanda Adams also offered condolences to the Munroe family on their Facebook pages.
The crash is the most significant aviation accident affecting The Bahamas since the October 2010 crash in Lake Killarney.
Nine people were killed in that tragedy.