Family’s Plea for help to find Missing After Panama Plane Crash

The families of Deb Velleman and Sue Borries two of the passengers that were not recovered after a single-engine, five-seater plane went down over the Pacific Ocean, are seeking support from the U.S.

The tragic accident took place on Jan.3, 2022 Jake Velleman son of Deb and Anthony Velleman who we aboard the plane, said their parents were celebrating the New Year’s weekend on the island of Contadora.

Gustavo Pérez Morales, the director of the Civil Aviation Authority, told the Telemetro television station that a pilot had radioed in to say he was having engine problems and would have to splashdown in the sea (AP). 

“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.

The pilot, Anthony Velleman, and one other passenger were rescued. Two women remain missing. 

Over a week later, the families of the two Americans who were not recovered are urging the United States government to send in resources to help locate their loved ones. 

The families told local news sources that while Panamanian authorities have been conducting around-the-clock air, sea, and land search and are aware of the aircraft’s last-known coordinates, t hey need help locating the wreckage.

"We know it is the responsibility of our government to provide the support to bring these U.S. citizens back home one way or another," Jake Velleman told Patch from Panama.

Velleman added, "We are one week later, and frankly we are very frustrated."

Both the Borries and Velleman families are pleading with the U.S. government to send the personnel and equipment required to find the missing people.

"If you are in a position to assist through your professional office, connection to a relevant office, and/or are willing to reach out to your congressional representatives, your advocacy on behalf of our families will be sincerely appreciated," Jake Velleman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.