Pilot involved in plane crash meets dispatcher who helped

WELLS COUNTY, Ind. – Hearing Michelle Ripple’s voice instantly takes Matt Christman back to the night his plane crashed in Wells County in the middle of a cornfield. His 17-year-old daughter was next to him, unconscious. On the call Ripple asked ‘is your daughter hurt?’ All you can hear Christman say is ‘Oh, baby, I’m so sorry.’

“I wanted to talk to my daughter so bad but she wasn’t able to talk to me and Michelle was able to talk to me and keep me focused,” Christman said. Ripple, too, was overcome with emotion. “When I knew it was an airplane, I think my ribs just kind of tightened up and I was just trying to breathe for a second and just get a grip and take that deep breath and say ‘okay, stay calm, let’s do this’ kind of thing. I guess I was just in shock,” she said. Pumped with adrenaline, she had to figure out where Christman and Kassi were. “I’m trying to track you, okay. I’m trying to get a better pinpoint on where you’re at,” she said. Christman said “oh, hurry,” then mumbled cries are heard followed by an ‘okay.’

Ripple got every emergency response team she could think of involved, even having firefighters standing at the top of silos looking out. Eventually they found them. “I think I’ve got you at 200 west and 200 south,” Ripple said. “Yes, I’m in a cornfield,” Christman cried. Now as the meet face to face, they both have a similar take-away from the experience. “I’m so peaceful and humble after this thing, after this whole deal. I mean a lot of people have asked me how I’ve felt and things and I say well it’s more like when I’ve been saved by God,” “I try to be a faithful person you know and he had angels. We all did,” Ripple said.


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