Charles and Rose Smart were flying to Nassau, Bahamas from Freeport; but a strong headwind hammered their Cessna 172 and hindered their progress. After flying for what seemed like an unusually long time, Rose glanced at the instrument panel and exclaimed, “Is there something wrong with the fuel gauge?” Knowing they had a problem, Charles said, “I think we’d better prepare for trouble!” Rose prayed as Charlie switched to the emergency frequency and began saying, “Mayday! Mayday! Cessna 172, out of fuel!”
They received a callback from a Coast Guard jet but he was very far away. After a few frantic minutes of trying desperately to get help, Charles called the jet pilot, “I’m gonna have to ditch this baby.” The pilot responded, telling them to keep the frequency open; he was headed towards them. Suddenly a terrifying silence filled the cockpit as the engine sputtered and died.
“This is it,” Charles said calmly. “I love you,” Rose said, flashing a weak smile at him as their plane approached the water. Suddenly, Rose screamed, “Look! The Jet! There he is! Charles, he found us!” Moments later the Cessna slammed down. The windshield shattered on impact and the plane began to fill with water. Miraculously, Charles and Rose were unharmed and scrambled out on the aircraft’s wing.
The plane floated for three minutes and sank. The weary travelers were now tiny specks in a great big ocean with nothing to keep them alive—they had no life jackets. Suddenly, a tiny dot appeared in the distance, so Rose threw up her arms and waved frantically at the jet. “We’re here!” Can’t you see us?” she screamed. Tears flooded her eyes as the roaring plane swished by.
Two hours elapsed. Suddenly, Rose had an idea. She ducked underwater, pulled up her skirt and tucked it in her belt. She then laid down flat and floated so her white slip could be seen. “Please, God, let that pilot see us,” she pleaded. They prayed with all their might. Finally, the jet approached them again and dropped something. It was a life raft. Exhausted, they climbed in the small rubber boat, thanking God, and watching the jet fly overhead. “Prayer pulls the rope below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly, others give but an occasional pluck at the rope. But he or she who wins with heaven is the man or woman who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously, with all his or her might” (Charles Spurgeon).