SIERRA LEONE, Africa, Aug. 27, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Four LDS missionaries — two of them from Utah — have been seriously injured in a traffic accident in west Africa.
One of the injured, Elder Luke Dunn, of Salt Lake City, has required surgery to reposition the bone plate on the right side of his head, which was pushed into his brain, according to a Facebook video posted by his father, David Dunn.
The accident happened Wednesday when the missionaries were traveling with a local church member, according to Eric Hawkins, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who confirmed the news on Saturday.
“Each of the people in the mission van received injuries, some quite severe,” Hawkins reported. ”Medical advisors from church headquarters and the local area have been closely involved in their care since the accident occurred and will continue to work with the medical teams that are caring for them.”
The accident happened when a car attempting to pass a truck on the highway struck the van the missionaries and church member were in. The car driver died at the scene.
All five LDS Church members in the van received injuries. Two missionaries were transported by helicopter to Ghana for treatment and two were taken to a local hospital. The other church member in the van, Marcus Wallace of Sierra Leone, was treated at a local hospital and released.
The missionaries have been identified as Dunn; Elder Nicklaus M. Spaulding, from Nibley (Cache County); Elder Augustine Biney-Amissah, from Breman Asikuma, Ghana; and Elder Isaac Boateng, from Moree, Ghana.
The condition update posted by Dunn’s father also stated that his son had severe damage to his right cheekbone and eye socket, and his nose, at that his son’s lower legs had been broken. Dunn said surgery and drainage seemed to be reducing the swelling in Luke Dunn’s brain, according to phone reports he had gotten from doctors in Ghana.
Dunn said he has been working out passport and visa problems, and hopes to fly out Sunday. His wife hopes to follow a day or two later, he said.
Friends of Dunn’s parents have set up a GoFundMe page to help the couple fly to Ghana to be with their son.
The page set a goal of $5,500, and within one day exceeded that amount, raising $7,688 as of Saturday afternoon.