Update – October 27th 2016
On behalf of Live Different and Cole’s family, we want to thank you for your patience during this tragic time. We want to make sure all updates give a clear picture of where things are at in the Dominican Republic and what the plans are moving forward.
As you can imagine, it has been an extremely tough week for the friends and family of Benjamin Cole Brown and Chuck and Candy Ritzen. At this time, given all collected data and search information, it is believed that the type of plane crash that Cole, Chuck, and Candy were involved in was not a survivable one, and that we will not see the kind of recovery we had all hoped for. This news is not easy to hear, we appreciate that and what it means for family, friends, and yourselves. As we move our focus toward honouring our friend the best way that we know how, please know that Benjamin’s dreams for the Dominican Republic and Haiti have not ended. It is upon us to make sure his tireless efforts were just the beginning of great things to come. Soon, we will have more news about how you can play a role in continuing that work and we thank you, once again, for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. They’ve been overwhelming and truly sustaining.
“We have been so extremely busy this last week walking this very crushing nightmare! It is time now though, to announce that it is with heart breaking sadness that our beloved son Benjamin Cole Brown has very tragically lost his life in a plane crash in the Dominican Republic where he lived & loved so well!❤️ We are continuing to render the services of divers to search & hopefully locate the plane. Grant, myself & our family simply cannot THANK U ALL enough for your love & prayers that have been expressed in a thousand ways!! Everyone who knew Cole loved him.“
— Kathleen Brown, Cole’s Mother
**Update October 22nd 1:30pm EST
The past few days have taken a lot out of us, and we can’t imagine what Cole’s family is feeling. It has been admittedly difficult to know what to say to everyone. When the plane went down on Monday, the water was stirred up from the storm that day which makes visibility poor (less than 1 metre). It is starting to improve and should continue to over the next few days, which will make it much easier to spot the wreckage and enable recovery efforts. Thank you for your continued support and concern, especially for Cole’s family.
We also want to extend our gratitude to the Dominican Government for their efforts, and the communities that have been volunteering their time to search for their friend. As the recovery efforts continue, our hearts are also wrestling with how to best remember and honour Cole. We want to make sure that the projects and communities that he was so passionate about receive the same level of commitment and support that he gave them.
**Update October 19th 7:00pm EST
We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for all the thoughts and prayers for Cole and his wellbeing. Many of you will be seeing more and more articles and reports being made as the hours pass, and although there are no new developments to relay at this time, please know that search and rescue operations continue to look for Cole, Chuck, and Candy.
**Original Post Oct 18th 2016
Our hearts are heavy this evening as we wait for more news regarding an incident in the Dominican Republic. At this point, we do know that a private plane, carrying Benjamin Cole Brown and two American friends (Chuck and Candy Ritzen), lost radio contact 6km off the coast of Puerto Plata on a return flight from Haiti Monday evening. Debris from the plane has been found and authorities are currently conducting search and rescue operations. We have staff on the ground keeping us as informed as possible. Your thoughts and prayers for all involved, especially the families, are appreciated.