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During the years of 1980s, I traveled quite a bit from Washington D.C. to New Jersey to go between my father and mother’s house. As a 10-year-old I traveled alone on planes, so news stories about planes and travels were on my radar, so to speak. So, in 1982 when January 13th rolled around with the lead story about an Air Florida flight crashing into the Potomac River in Washington D.C., you can be sure my eyes and ears were tuned in!

It was a horrible day. The airport was shutting down due to ice and inclement weather. The captain and the co-pilot had sat on the runway for 45 minutes with ice forming on the wings before they attempted to take off. They got a couple hundred feet off the ground, and then thirty seconds later the plane slammed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River, less than a mile away from the runway. Of the 79 people on the plane, 73 people died on impact, leaving six survivors crying out for help in the frigid waters of the Potomac.

With the storm and the regular congestion, emergency vehicles could not get there in time. Scores of people stopped on the bridge and helped by tossing in lifelines to the survivors. The people on the bridge looked on in horror as one of the survivors could not hold onto the lifeline and began to sink. People on the bridge began to shout and scream, but what could they do?

Fortunately, Lenny Skutnik was there. He would not stand idly by. Without any further hesitation, he jumped into the frigid water with the sharp debris from the plane and swam to her rescue. She survived, and Lenny received the Coast Guard life saving medal.

When you are sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shores, you need help, you don’t need bystanders! You need someone who understands just how desperate your situation is and is willing to jump in there with you! Well folks, I want to remind you from Scripture that Jesus will hear you despairing cry and lift you out of those waters if you let Him! JESUS STANDS READY TO ASSIST US.

(From a sermon by James Bohrer, "HELP! I Need Somebody. HELP! Not just Anybody." 1/14/2009)

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