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Two church members among dead in plane crash

Paula and Norbert Taferner

Norbert and Paula Taferner, members of a Church of Christ in South Africa, died in a Wednesday plane crash near the Tripoli airport in Libya.
The Airbus 330, operated by Tripoli-based Afriqiyah Airways, crashed as it arrived from Johannesburg, South Africa, the BBC reported. The plane carried 93 passengers and 11 crew. The tragedy made international headlines because of its sole survivor — 9-year-old Ruben van Assouw from the Netherlands. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash.
Norbert Taferner, 70, worked for Global Aviation.
“Norbert retired in February and he was flying to Libya privately. He used to be our manager in Libya,” Johan Kuit, the company’s CEO, said in a report by the Cape Argus .
Jerry Hogg, dean of ministry training/Africa for Sunset International Bible Institute, recalled Norbert Taferner as “a top-notch aerodynamics engineer.” Hogg, who teaches at Southern Africa Bible College in Benoni, South Africa, said he spoke to the church member about a week ago.
The Taferners attended the Boksburg church, located between Johannesburg and Benoni. Bobby Ross Jr. traveled to Benoni last year to report on a lectureship at Southern Africa Bible College.
Donna Horne is the wife of  Al Horne, longtime administrator of Southern Africa Bible College. She shared some thoughts on the Taferners:

Paula and Norbert were founding members of the Boksburg Church of Christ, which was started by our Benoni Church of Christ. They have been members of the church since the 1960s.
Their two sons both attended Southern Africa Bible College: Marcus (who is married to Sandra who also graduated from SABC) and Helmut.
Norbert and his wife were originally from Austria. He was a brilliant engineer in air traffic control and aircraft systems. Due to the unemployment in South Africa, Norbert’s work took him to places like Iraq, Libya, and Albania. He often preached for the Albania congregation. He was one of the pillars in the Boksburg church.
He told a story about how he was flying to Germany one time and was sitting next to a passenger who claimed to be an atheist. Since it’s a long journey, Norbert had the opportunity to share the Word with him and use his scientific expertise to convince him. He struck a cord with the man and when they got to Frankfurt, Norbert went from bookshop to bookshop to look for a Bible to give the man. None was available! Finally, he had to contact the Germany Bible Society and order one. He left the man with the possibility of knowing Jesus.
Norbert was also an ardent supporter of Southern Africa Bible College. He will be sorely missed on the South African church scene. We have suffered a great and irreplaceable loss.

  • Feedback
    Paula and Norbert,the kind of people everyone would have loved to know. Norbert was to me, the splendid pattern of the loving husband and the excellent professional with a rare and astonishing dynamic way of thinking.
    Last year he asked me to pay a visit to the factory I work. As we spent almost two and a half hours discussing technology and processes, I felt as Norbert has been working there with me, during all my 12 years in it.
    Before unwillingly leaving Albania, he told me that Libya was their second choice, because they loved to stay here. After all,I�m sure God will provide for them, a peaceful sleep, till Christ returns in His glory, to deliver us all.
    I�m thankful to God for having the possibility to know the Tafferner�s and for the example they set in my life.
    God bless their souls and their family!
    Arian Zhusti
    May, 19 2010

    I am so sad of the death of Tarffeners. their sons Helmut and Marcus lost for their beloved parents in such a tragic way. I would personally like to write them a few lines. Unfortunately I have no address. If you know someone I’d be very happy if you could help me, perhaps per Email.
    Ditmar Maus
    June, 9 2010

    So sad that God’s people die! Especially the teacher preachers! I was babtised in church of Christ George live in Vereeniging now! No church here so sad!
    Sharone Rabie
    March, 31 2013

Filed under: Breaking News News Extras

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