Debra and Anthony Velleman and their dear friends were aboard a small plane that suffered an engine failure and crashed the afternoon of Monday, January 3rd in the waters off the coast of Panama.
Anthony and two others were rescued that same day, and Anthony underwent several surgeries in Panama and has since been transported back to the United States with the heroic help of Hatzolah Air Medical Transport. He is receiving further care and recovering with family in Wisconsin.
Although the search by the Panamanians for the aircraft, believed to contain Debra and her friend Sue (of Illinois), are officially still ongoing, they have stalled due to the limited resources of Panama and the non response from the United States to their and our desperate pleas for assistance.
Now…with the help of a Wisconsin-based nonprofit, Bruce’s Legacy, and a Texas-based nonprofit, Texas EquuSearch, a search using specialized sonar equipment and the expertise of many people generously volunteering their time and talent is underway, and we have hope that the plane will soon be found and these loved ones will finally be given the dignity they deserve.
We are optimistic that the efforts by these nonprofits will lead to a successful recovery operation, and we - the many friends, relatives, colleagues, and former students of these two wonderful families - are stepping forward to help raise money to support the search effort and to help finally bring some needed closure.
All money raised will go to support the ongoing search and recovery effort, as well as reimburse the costs incurred by these amazing nonprofits who have stepped in to help in the wake of this tragedy.
Thank you for your support of the Velleman and Bories families.