FORMAL STATEMENT FROM THE BORRIES AND VELLEMAN FAMILIES:
"The families of two American citizens—still missing after their plane crashed off the coast of Panama—are urging the United States government to help in the search to retrieve their missing loved ones.
The crash occurred on the afternoon of Monday, January 3. Two American passengers were rescued by Panamanian search and rescue teams, but 57-year-old Sue Borries of Illinois and 70-year-old Deb Velleman of Wisconsin have yet to be found.
The Panamanian government has formally asked the United States for help in the search to recover the American citizens. The U.S Government has responded to the families’ request for additional search assets stating that the United States Government, including both the Department of Defense and U.S. Coast Guard reviewed the request, but ‘did not have assets to deploy. Furthermore, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) does not have jurisdiction in Panama.’
We do not accept this response by our government that the required assets – including US Naval salvage divers and sonar do not exist and/or cannot be deployed to nearby Panama. The families of the missing women – both retired public-school teachers – are on the ground in Panama anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones. Panamanian authorities have been conducting a round-the-clock air, sea, and land search-- aware of the aircraft’s last-known coordinates-- but need help in locating the wreckage. Just last week, the US Charge located in Panama informed us that this is NOT a complex deep sea operation due to the location being in relatively shallow waters and close to the coast. This is a search and recovery of an airplane, more importantly and with utmost priority, recovering two U.S. Citizens. The only acceptable outcome is that our loved ones are found and recovered so that our families can begin the long and difficult grieving process. Until our loved ones are recovered and brought home that cannot occur. It is the United States Government’s duty to provide much needed assistance in accomplishing this.
Both the Borries family – U.S. military veterans among them – and the Velleman family implore their government to send the personnel and equipment required to bring these citizens home."
(END OF FORMAL STATEMENT)
UPDATE (JANUARY 11, 2021, 4PM ET):
Two Americans are still missing after their plane crashed off the coast ten days ago. Three others were rescued. An AP wire moved on this story when it happened—(https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/americans-missing-plane-splashes-off-panama-82076340 )
Yesterday, the US government rejected an official Panamanian request to aid in the search/rescue/recovery of the plane and the American citizens.
The two missing occupants, not identified at the time of the AP wire, are retired public-school teachers Debra Ann Velleman, 70, of Waukesha, WI, and Sue L. Borries, 57, of Teutopolis, IL.
The missing persons, suspected to be in the unrecovered wreckage, have not been found at this time, despite the local rescue/recovery efforts of the Autoridad de Aeronautica Civil de Panamá and Sistema Nacional de Protección (SINEPROC).
Through the U.S. Embassy in Panamá (Stewart D. Tuttle, Chargé d’Affaires), advanced sonar equipment had been requested from the U.S. Coast Guard and murky water/low-visibility divers have been requested from the U.S. Navy. The requests were rejected.
The families of the missing persons are desperate for support from their government to find their loved ones and are working with Sen Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Rep Scott Fitzgerald (D-WI) on their requests of the State Department and Defense Department to aid in the search.
They just seek help to find the plane, recover their loved ones (if they are in the plane), and bring them home for burial.
· Albert Lewitinn: email@example.com , 1-917-743-0202, Velleman family contact (for sons Jake and Josh and survivor Anthony).
· Stewart D. Tuttle, Chargé d’Affaires/Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Panamá (507) 317-5000
· Director General Capitán Gustavo Pérez Morales, Autoridad de Aeronautica Civil de Panamá: aeronautica.gob.pa and 507-315-9022 (public relations phone number) or 507-315-9000 (receptionist) or firstname.lastname@example.org
· Jose Manuel Hurtado Zuñiga. COORDINADOR NACIONAL DE BÚSQUEDA Y SALVAMENTO AERONÁUTICO (Coordinator, National Aeronautical Search and Rescue) https://www.aeronautica.gob.pa
- Panamanian military put out a 2:30 VNR: https://twitter.com/aacivilpty/status/1478790821155676162
DATA ON ACCIDENT
Date of Accident: 03-January 2022
Time of Accident: 15:00
Location of Accident: off the coast of Chame, Panamá Oeste, Panamá
Phase: en route from Contadora Island Airport (OTD/MPRA)
Type of plane: Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six
Pilot: Robert A. Breadner (aka “Allan Breadner”)
PHOTOS CLEARED FOR ALL PLATFORMS.
COURTESY: THE VELLEMAN FAMILY