There is a partially false story being rapidly spread on Facebook (and probably elsewhere) that a woman aboard a flight to Jamaica saved the plane from crashing by being ‘in the Spirit’ before take-off. The plane was at Owen Roberts International Airport in the Cayman Islands. While the woman caused a disturbance by jumping around, clapping and yelling ‘Jesus’ in the aisle, the part about there being a major problem with the plane that would have caused it to crash is untrue.
Here is what is being shared, taken from a post made on November 25 by a female pastor who is touted as an apostle, prophet, and prophetic voice: “A woman got in the spirit of the Holy Ghost this morning when she boarded a flight to Jamaica causing the flight to be delayed for 2hrs. They had to remove her from the plane. Soon after, the Airport authorities realised that something was gravely wrong with the plane engine & that if they had taken off 2 hours earlier, the plane would definitely have crashed!!! Thank you Lord! The lives of your children are precious to you & you know when their work on earth is done. God saved all the passengers and crew, because of the obedience of one woman! HALLELUJAH! OUR GOD is truly the Chief Pilot of our lives!” (Note: The video itself initially was shared on the day of the event as can be seen here. The inaccurate portrayal of events goes back to October when people started saying things like, “This Lady was in spirit on the plane to Jamaica and because of the delay they found that there was a problem with one of the engines.”)
A few days later the story grew to an even taller tale when one man wrote in part, “This woman felt the Holy Spirit just before a plane flight to Jamaica yesterday. She told them God informed her that the flight would go down. It took a while to get things situated and eventually throw her off the plane, so the flight was delayed for 2hrs. Soon after, the Airport authorities realized that something was gravely wrong with the plane engine. If they had taken off 2 hours earlier, the plane would definitely have crashed!!!”
On the date of the incident, Caymanmarload.com wrote about it. They stated that, “Apparently something happened with the one of the engines and after taxing off and they had to return to the gate” and said that a passenger stated a man started praying, which seemed to prompt the actions of the woman in question. That is when she got out of her seat and was jumping and shouting. Their website is the only one where I found the mention of engine trouble or that the plane had taxied out and then returned to the gate. I am in the process of trying to verify this.
The official statement from Cayman Airways was that the video of the incident which had been circulated did happen on flight KX-620 on October 23, 2017. In their statement, there is no mention of any major malfunction with the plane and certainly not that the woman’s actions caused them to discover it or that the plane would have crashed. Here is part of what they said: “The aircraft was at the gate with passengers boarded, but with the main cabin door still open while a minor maintenance issue was being resolved before departure. Shortly after the Captain announced that the maintenance work was completed and that the aircraft would soon be on its way, a female passenger left her seat and began shouting and jumping as can be seen in the video.” There was only a delay of an hour and 13 minutes as the woman was removed from the plane and her luggage retrieved.
So there are only three basic statements from the November 25th post which are accurate:
1) it was a morning flight to Jamaica
2) the woman was removed from the plane
3) the woman ‘got in the spirit’ (which I won’t attempt to address in this article)
It is NOT true that:
1) the woman’s actions caused them to discover a problem with the plane
2) there was a two hour delay
2) there was something gravely wrong with the engine
3) the plane would have crashed
4) the woman’s actions saved the lives of the people on board
It is so important to fact check stories before spreading them across social media and elsewhere. One should not embellish a story, especially not in order to promote or prove their beliefs. Doing so causes others to shake their head in disbelief as thousands of people rapidly share a false story that could have been easily fact checked in a few minutes time.
What is even more problematic is when people are shown the report is untrue and they attempt to discredit the airline’s statement, insinuating or outright stating that they wouldn’t tell the truth. Please look at the facts and use discernment. There was only a 73 minute delay in the flight and some of that was taken in evicting the woman from the plane and retrieving her luggage. Had there been a major problem with the engine, enough that it would have crashed, is it reasonable to believe that it could be repaired in just over one hour or that they would have taken the chance on using the plane after such a discovery?
In the short time it took me to write this, the post I linked to was shared an additional 2,068 times. Most of the comments are praising and believing the report. As of my update to this article on November 29, it had almost two million views, was shared 50,412 times and commented on by 25,000 people.
December 1, 2017 Update: Cayman Marl Road reported on October 27, “Our sources have informed us that as of yesterday the passenger, identified as Ms. Barbara Cecile Bryan, remains on islands. Apparently she was removed from the flight that day and had her ticket cancelled for travel for the following morning. We understand that Cayman Airways/CIAA are in talks as to whether or not she should be banned from traveling on the airline and for how long.” If the name is accurate, she was granted Caymanian status on December 31, 2003 according to an official report.
On their Facebook page, they reported on October 25 that this woman had been hospitalized in the mental health ward after being removed from the flight. Another person shared that the woman “was out in the street where she was staying doing the same thing two days before boarding the plane.” Yet another commented, “Sadly, there were Haitians on that flight who are heading home via Jamaica after being here for almost 3 months. Recovering Open heart surgery patients who became very scared. Their translator who is also a born again Christian said he’d never seen anything like this before and they are all relieved the lady was removed from the flight.” In a separate Facebook discussion, one woman claiming to have been on the flight shared similar thoughts, “i was on the flight sitting across from her it was scary for my kids too.”
On November 29, buried amidst hundreds of comments on another Facebook post that was spreading this false report, a woman named Lori made the following comment that was ignored by others praising the story, “I was the flight attendant on that flight and your information is wrong. We had discovered a minor mechanical issue before this happened and went back to the gate to have it corrected. We were about to close the door when this occurred. She was removed and we departed safely to Kingston. I repeat this happened AFTER the problem was corrected.”
There is a news article on the incident: https://cayman27.ky/2017/10/passenger-removed-from-cayman-airways-flight/
Here is the video with commentary from KevOnStage, made October 24.