Crash in Honduras kills Md. couple

February 01, 1994|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Sun Staff Writer

A missionary trip ended in tragedy yesterday when a bus camper ran over a cliff in Honduras, killing a Mennonite couple from Garrett County and injuring their three daughters and a companion.

News of the deaths of Eli and Mary Yoder was received within a few hours through a series of telephone calls from other missionaries and a son on the trip in Honduras to members of the Swanton Mennonite Fellowship Church.

Emanuel A. Troyer, a Swanton neighbor and church member, said Mr. Yoder bought an old school bus and turned it into a mobile home late last year. He left Jan. 12 in a missionary caravan to deliver medical supplies for the needy in Honduras and to visit Mennonite missions there and in Costa Rica.

About 9 a.m. yesterday, Mr. Yoder's bus lost its brakes on a hill about 25 miles from the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa and ran over a cliff, according to the account received from others in the missionary caravan.

Injured were daughters Martha Yoder, 22, a missionary who had been working about a year in a children's home in Honduras, who was reported to be in critical condition; Arlene Yoder, 20, and Mary Catherine Yoder, 18, hospitalized with bruises or broken bones; and a friend from Ohio, Rhoda Miller, who has a brother and sister living in Costa Rica, Mr. Troyer said.

Two other Yoder children, Matthew, 17, and Ellen, 15, were riding in another vehicle at the time.

"Matthew Yoder called from the hospital and talked to us personally here," Mr. Troyer said. "It's a real shock on the family. It was hard for them, but they feel it was God's will and his time to take their parents home.

"That's their consolation in the middle of sorrow. They feel it was God's hand, and He wanted them home. They take it as God's plan."

Eli Yoder, 46, and Mary Yoder, 47, were natives of the Oakland area and lived on a small farm in Swanton. He operated Yoder & Sons Excavating, specializing in residential and small commercial work; Mrs. Yoder was a homemaker. The couple had two other grown children who were not on the trip, Mr. Troyer said.

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