A Peruvian judge throws out criminal charges in the downing of a missionary plane.

By April 26, 2004

Peru (MNN)–This month marks three years since a missionary plane was accidentally shot down over Peru.

The Cessna float plane that the Bowers family were traveling in was shot down by Peruvian fighter pilots after it was wrongly targeted by CIA contract employees as carrying illegal drugs.

Killed in that accident were Veronica Bowers and her 7-month-old daughter Charity. Jim Bowers, and his then-7-year-old son Cory, survived the attack along with pilot Kevin Donaldson, though Donaldson was seriously injured.

Last week, a civilian court judge shelved criminal charges against the two pilots who shot the plane down. However, prosecutors disagreed with the judge and are prepared to take their case to the Superior Criminal Court in Iquitos.

In the fallout of the accident, a joint U.S.-Peru report found that procedural errors, language problems and an overloaded communications system all contributed to the accident. The United States also stopped cooperating with the interdiction program flights in Peru and Colombia. The White House also issued an apology in April 2002.

Jim Bowers, since remarried, remains with the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. He and his family are serving in Portugal where they are working on a short-term sports ministry assignment.

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