Connect with us


Memories of plane crash drive me –2005 Sosoliso plane crash survivor, Okwuchi



Kechi Okwuchi is one of the two survivors in the Sosoliso Airlines flight that crashed on December 10 , 2005, killing 107 people . Now 29 , the finalist in the 2017 America ’ s Got Talent show told Timileyin Akinkahunsi the many barriers she’ s had to scale to get to where she is today

How did you feel finishing sixth at the 2017 America ’ s Got Talent ?

I was actually surprised ; I didn ’ t expect that I would get that far . From the auditions till the final , it was a huge surprise to me and my family .

Getting to the final was like a dream come true . Honestly , it was shocking to me but I am so grateful to God for taking me that far in the competition .

The platform provided by that huge competition must have opened many doors unto you, has that been the case?

It has been amazing . Firstly , I have been able to meet with different organisations in the world and due to that exposure ; I have been called to perform at different important occasions .

I have been involved with various activities to help others in one way or the other . I have also been getting calls from churches that want me to share my story to serve as an inspiration to others .

The platform has really ushered me into a lot of varieties and I am enjoying it .

You melted a lot of hearts with performances during the competition , you must be getting a lot of attention from men as a result, has that been the case?

I have been getting attention from every quarter , not just from the guys . But surprisingly , the people I get more attention from are the children . People are encouraged and touched by my story and message , and this is the best part out of the whole thing for me.

How has it been managing your new fame and studies ?

Honestly , it has been a bit of struggle in trying to balance my new life and academics. I always try to make sure that during my free time ; I go on the Internet to make up for the things I missed . I am really trying to create a balance between school and work , and I must say I have been blessed to have a lenient professor who understands what is going on .

So far , it ’ s been good and I pray I am able to sustain it for as long as possible .

You are a shining light in academics ; do you plan to someday become a professor ?

That was actually my plan . I was going to go all the way to do my doctorate . That might still happen but it will depend on a number of things .

For now , all I am trying to do is singing and performing . I believe school is always there and one can always go on to study more .

As time wore on, I realised that I needed to concentrate on one . But I am making sure to get that degree . We ’ ll see what happens.

Are there specific Nigerian musicians that you would love to work with as you grow in your career ?

READ ALSO  Mompha makes deposit on N200m Rolls-Royce Cullinan 2019

Definitely! Doing a collaboration with Banky W on a song would be awesome . I love his voice and his style of music . I would love to have a chance to sing with him if it would be possible .

I also would fancy a chance to work with the likes of Tiwa Savage , Simi and Waje . If I had an opportunity with them , I would surely take my chance .

Since surviving the plane crash , you have had a lot of surgeries , are there likely to be more ?

The way things are right now , I am in a place where if there are more surgeries that would benefit me by improving any functions that I am having issues with , I am open to such .

I have no problems with undergoing various surgeries but if I have to live my life this way , then I am ready .

In what specific ways did that accident change your life ?

One important way that tragedy has changed my life is that it has afforded me the opportunity to meet many amazing people from around the world , which may never have happened if I wasn ’ t involved in the incident .

I wouldn ’ t trade anything for this amazing people I have met over this period . The incident is more like a blessing in disguise .

Racism is also a big issue in the United States of America , have you faced any sort of discrimination since moving there ?

A lot of people have had this experience in one form or the other but honestly , I have not experienced this since I moved to the US and I am happy about this .

Since I moved to America , I have only met with amazing people who have got my back. The only discrimination I get is because of my scars which is a different thing from racial discrimination , but it doesn ’ t bother me.

As a little girl , did you ever think you were going to get to this level in life ?

The truth is that I never thought I would get to this level . I have always loved music and singing but I never dreamt of what I had become today .

The extent of what I had always wanted to do with my voice was just to join my church choir . The truth is that , I never felt my voice was good enough to be on the television . However , everything happened suddenly and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

What are some of the dreams you nursed as a child ?

As a child , I always dreamt of working with the United Nations . I heard most of the people who work there studied economics, so my plan was to study economics also .

But after the plane accident , everything changed . Regardless of what has happened, I still dream of working with the UN.

Are there people who categorise you as being physically challenged even though you only have burn scars on you?

Yes, there are many people like that . When some people see me , they hardly believe that I ’ m without any sort of physical limitation . Personally , I am glad that the burns didn ’ t cause me a kind of disability . I didn ’ t break a bone or a finger . I am grateful to God for this .

READ ALSO  BREAKING! Superstar Actress, Yvonne Nelson's Father Is Dead!

I was 16 when the incident happened, so the tragedy took the best part of my teenage years . I just jumped somehow from 16 to 20 years of age .

If you are given the chance to make one wish , what would that be?

My wish would be to be able to speak every language in this world .

Can you cook Nigerian meals ?

I can make a few . My mother is here , so we get to eat them all the time .

Do you have plans of moving to Nigeria to pursue your musical career ?

I would love to because I feel that I would do well if I were in Nigeria . I feel that I would get a lot of support and opportunities . That is not to say I don ’ t enjoy a lot of support here in the US .

It ’ s been several years since that tragedy , would you say you have fully recovered from the trauma ?

I have been relieved from the trauma, but not completely over it . The incident is something I cannot forget . Every single day is a memory for me. As long as I am happy and doing well in life , I think I would get to that point .

I usually ask myself “do I really want to forget it ” because it is the memory of the incident that drives me on in life .

Can you ever board a local flight in Nigeria again ?

Actually, I have flown on local flights on my two visits to Nigeria after the incident . I had no reason to fear or panic .

Are you considering marriage already ?

Not at the moment and I am not actively searching also because marriage isn ’ t something one should hurry into . However , if I find someone interesting , I would be happy to get engaged and marry .

I do not feel I am against time even though I am trying to catch up with a lot of things after the accident . But we can’ t say what God has in plan for me.

Do you sometimes look at your childhood pictures , see how you used to look and feel bad about the way you are now ?

I actually don ’ t get to look at my pictures before the accident , but when I come across them , I just smile and say “ wow ” to myself . I admire my slim figure in those pictures and not how my skin used to look .

Do you still remember how the sad incident happened ?

I wasn ’ t conscious for the whole time but I remember that everything was normal when the plane took off and suddenly it went into turbulence. Even at that , nobody panicked because that was a normal thing on air .

But when the turbulence persisted , panic set in . I remember sitting in my chair and thinking about what was happening at that moment . I couldn’ t overcome the shock of experiencing what I used to see in movies. The last thing I remember was holding hands with my friend who sat beside me before everything went blank . It was a terrible experience but I thank God for sparing my life .

Credit ;punch