Kechi Okwuchi is one of two survivors from a plane crash that killed her fellow classmates and now she is a contestant on America’s Got Talent. With her body covered in burns and a long road of recovery, Okwuchi used music as an escape. The Sosoliso plane crash Okwuchi was in claimed the lives of 107 passengers in 2005. She has had over 100 surgeries as a result of the burns she suffered on over 65% of her body from the crash.
It was a Nigerian flight traveling between the cities of Abuja and Port Harcourt, which crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport, as reported by CNN. According to reports, the reason for the crash was that the plane missed its approach because of “pilot error aggravated by windshear.”The captain on board was Benjamin Adekunle Adebayo and when the plane crashed, it burst into flames. Sadly, many students were on the flight, with 60 of Okwuchi’s classmates from Loyola Jesuit College passing away.
In a blog on the website a href=”https://www.bellanaija.com/2012/11/bn-our-stories-our-miracles-a-tragic-plane-crash-over-75-surgeries-later-kechi-okwuchi-is-the-beautiful-personification-of-faith-strength” target=”_blank”>Bella Naija, Okwuchi wrote about her experience in surviving the fatal accident, stating:
Fifteen minutes to the end of the flight, the pilot announced that we were soon to land in the Port Harcourt airport. I remember I was sitting in an aisle seat, and my close friend Toke was on the aisle seat to my right. The ensuing turbulence was getting very frequent, but I didn’t think too much of it until someone from the back shouted ‘Is this plane trying to land?’ I couldn’t see out the window from my seat, but now I think about it that was probably for the best. Everything was so surreal in that moment. I turned to Toke and we held hands, and I was like ‘Maybe we should pray?’ Before we could even start, there was this sudden shrill sound ringing in my ears, and next thing I knew, I was waking up in Milpark Hospital, South Africa. To this day I don’t remember the actual impact of the crash.
The first voice I heard was feminine and unfamiliar; it was a nurse and she kept calling my name, asking me if I could hear her. As I roused, I remember feeling completely numb and completely exhausted in a way I couldn’t quite understand. Eventually I saw my mom’s silhouette; I could tell she was smiling, but I remember wishing I could see her face more clearly, ‘cause my vision was very blurry. As I lay there, I knew that things were pretty bad, but that she was right there beside me made me feel such relief, I can’t even explain.
In 2015, Okwuchi was able to graduate from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in economics. At her commencement ceremony, she was given the honor of delivering a speech to the crowd, as reported by the Chronicle.
Check out Okwuchi’s performances on AGT so far this season below.