By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Special time of prayer for plane crash survivors
Andy Braselton leads a prayer for David and Carolina Bellino at Chestnut Mountain Church Tuesday evening. The Bellinos, active members of the church, were injured in a plane crash on an island off the coast of Colombia on Monday. - photo by Tom Reed

CHESTNUT MOUNTAIN ­- It is a temporary job, but one that Katy Paul has embraced.

She has taken over the reins of the girls dance team at Chestnut Mountain Church while the group's leader, Carolina Bellino, recovers from an ill-fated plane crash in the Caribbean.

"I'm just praying that God will lead me in the same way he was leading her and that we'll keep on doing what we're supposed to do," Paul said, grasping the hand of her youngest of six children.

Paul joined about 100 other fellow worshippers at the church's regular Wednesday services for a special time of prayer for Carolina and her husband, David Bellino.

The Jackson County couple was among 130 people who survived as the plane they were on crashed while preparing to land Monday in a storm on San Andres, a small island off the coast of Colombia. One person died in the crash.

"I'm amazed at God's miracle that they (survived)," Paul said. "I know that God has a huge plan for their lives, and I can't wait for them to come home so we can see what that is."

Tim Tipton, pastor of administration at the church off Winder Highway in South Hall, shared the latest information with the group before praying.

"Right now, as we know now, (doctors) are going to try to do the surgery in the morning," he told the group meeting in a children's worship area.

Both Bellinos suffered the same vertebrae fractures.

"It must have been the impact of the plane and the stress on their bodies when it hit that has caused them both to have the same exact injury," Tipton said.

David Bellino has lost feeling in his legs, but doctors have said that is temporary. He is starting to regain feeling in his feet, Tipton said.

Also, Carolina Bellino is about seven weeks pregnant, an announcement she had made to the dance team.

"I want to let each of you little girls who work with Miss Carolina each week know that she is doing great," Tipton said. "Her baby is doing great. She got to hear the (baby's) heartbeat (Tuesday) and she is very excited about that."

David Bellino has told his sister that he and Carolina "are getting excellent care ... and they are not worried about the surgeries," Tipton said.

After the crash, the couple were moved from a clinic on San Andres to a hospital in Bogota, Colombia's capital.

The Bellinos described their ordeal in morning TV news shows Tuesday.

They said that in the crash, they heard a loud noise and momentarily lost consciousness. When David regained consciousness, he opened the emergency door near their seats, climbed onto the wing and pulled his wife through to escape, he told NBC.

Of the 131 people on board the Aires airline Boeing 737 jetliner, a 68-year-old woman, who is believed to have had a heart attack, died in the crash.

The word spread through Chestnut Mountain Church after Cynthia Herndon, the children's ministry director, heard a message from Carolina Bellino on her answering machine.

"She was requesting prayer from (the church)," Herndon said.

Andy Braselton, a church elder, said at Wednesday night's service that the couple has specifically sought prayer for the surgeries and the doctors, the couple's baby and the U.S. embassy to be able "to do all that it can to get them home safely to us so we can minister to them more directly."

Carolina Bellino's request for prayer "is exactly the way the Bible teaches us that we should do when we have troubles in our lives," Braselton said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.