Wilson Praises Heroism of South Carolina Couple

Jul 18, 2003
Newlywed Wilkins’ saved children’s lives after fatal plane crash
Today, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) made the following remarks on the House Floor: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the courage and bravery of a newlywed couple from Greenville, South Carolina. This past Sunday, Walt and Donyelle Wilkins were flying to their honeymoon destination in the Bahamas when their commuter flight crashed in the Atlantic Ocean off Abaco Island,” said Rep. Wilson. “Of the nine passengers and pilot aboard the plane, Diane Parker Diaz of Jacksonville, Florida and her 3-year-old niece Dante Parker did not survive. However, Diaz’s two children, Andre Parker Diaz and Elisa Parker Diaz, were saved through the selfless efforts of Walt and Donyelle. Disregarding immediate personal safety, the Wilkins couple stayed behind and held the children above them in the water, as they treaded water for over an hour waiting for rescue. “I ask all of my colleagues to join me in thanking Walt and Donyelle Wilkins for their heroic act, continuing the traditions of the dedicated Wilkins family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were involved in the tragic event. “In conclusion, God bless our troops,” said Rep. Wilson. ###