When a Navy jet clipped three massive power lines and sent them crashing onto Steven Shoop’s pickup, the four missionaries-to-be inside the truck said it was God that kept them safe.
“This kind of thing just proves to you God is there for you,” Shoop, the former youth minister at Wenatchee First Assembly of God, said Friday.
“This was a God thing. He was in charge of the situation,” he said. “There were too many coincidences to say it happened by chance.”
The Grant County Public Utility District’s 230,000-volt power lines, which connect Wanapum Dam with a Bonneville Power Administration substation, fell and hit the windshield of the pickup truck on Washington 28, then ripped the camper off the truck bed, State Patrol troopers said.
No one was injured. The jet landed safely at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station with only minor damage.
The collision about 11 a.m. dropped the power lines on Highway 28 about five miles south of Rock Island Dam, closing the road for two hours. About 100 local customers were without power for most of the day.
Steven and Amy Shoop celebrated their good fortune with fellow passengers David and Pepper Marshall later Friday night. All live in Wenatchee and are preparing to go to Panama for missionary work.
“I think it showed me God definitely wants us to be missionaries,” said Amy Shoop. “The line could have been a foot lower and taken our necks off.”
The camper that fell onto the roadway also likely saved lives, they said.
“With the camper in the road, everyone stopped,” Shoop said. “Who knows how many people would have driven over (the power lines) if they hadn’t stopped for the camper.”
The Navy A-6E Intruder jet bomber, part of Attack Squadron 196 at Whidbey, was damaged on its right wing flap, said Howard Thomas, public affairs officer at the naval station. Thomas declined to release names of the flight crew.
Navy jets often fly down the Palisades canyon on training maneuvers. A Navy A-6E bomber on a training flight Oct. 10, 1991, crashed in the Columbia River, killing two pilots about five miles from Friday’s mishap. Pilot error was blamed for the 1991 crash.
Grant County PUD spokesman Gary Garnett said the utility can continue to operate without the line, which stretched about a quarter-mile between two towers. He said repairs would begin soon.
“It’s the most difficult line in our system to repair,” Garnett said.
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