Columbus native killed in Haiti plane crash

By Dale Gathright, Jr., 07/5/21 2:07 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI – A Columbus, Arkansas native and five others are dead following a plane crash Friday night in Haiti. Trent Hostetler, 35, of Avoca, Wisconsin, had been on furlough with his wife from their administrative position as house parents in Haiti for the group Gospel to Haiti.

Gospel to Haiti said in a statement the Hostetlers “flew back to Haiti after a several-week furlough. John Miller from Wisconsin also flew with them to spend some time in Haiti as an evangelist for a mobile clinic in the area. Because of all the unrest in Port-au-Prince, they chose to get a small plane from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel. There wasn’t room for everyone on the first flight so Erica and their 3 children, along with some other friends visiting Haiti, took a flight and Trent and John were to come on another small plane soon after them. When the 2nd plane didn’t show up, they were very concerned and soon heard that the plane had gone down somewhere near Leogane. A search team was formed and sent out and they located the plane early Saturday morning and confirmed that all 6 people were killed, including Trent and John.” (This is NOT the John Miller from the Nashville area.)

The flight usually takes around an hour. Although Hurricane Elsa was approaching, authorities didn’t cite weather conditions as a possible factor. Last known communication to headquarters was a distress signal and hours later the plane was found having crashed into a mountain, with no survivors. The single-engine aircraft was registered to a South Florida company, the Herald reported.

Hostetler’s wife Erica is expecting their fourth child in September.

Trent’s parents are Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Hostetler, who at one time was part of the local Mennonite sect in Hempstead and Howard Counties.  Vernon was active in several local volunteer fire departments. They had relocated to the Clarksville, Arkansas area with their family when Trent was a youth.

Go-Fund me accounts have been set up for some of the victims, including Hostetler and Miller, who leaves behind a wife and seven children.

Gospel to Haiti, located in the mountainous terrain of rural southern Haiti, has a clinic that serves its small community in many ways. The ministry is headquartered in Wisconsin.