Pastor Bayless Conley is resting well and in improved condition after being listed as critical from a boating accident off the coast of Southern California at Catalina Island on Monday, according to officials at Cottonwood Church in Los Alamitos, Calif.
"On Monday night, pastor Bayless underwent surgery because of soft tissue injuries sustained to his neck and throat area," stated the church on its website. "After surgery his doctors reported that all of his vital organs and his spinal cord are fully intact and without injury."
Conley, Jeff Perry, who is the senior pastor of St. Louis Family Church in St. Louis, Mo., and Cottonwood member Keith Johnson were injured when the 22-foot Glacier Bay catamaran boat they were in slammed head-on into the sheer cliffs that are common on Catalina Island's north side near Isthmus Cove, according to local emergency service officials. The church, which released the other names, described the boat as a fishing boat.
On Tuesday, a second procedure was performed to examine the injuries to Conley's neck and throat areas, the church stated. Cottonwood's update on the pastor found on its website, as of late Thursday, read: "According to his doctors, neither his vocal cords nor his voice box was damaged. Presently, he is resting well, making amazing progress, and his medical condition is improving, according to his doctors."
Johnson sustained facial injuries, possible broken ribs, and remains in the hospital, according to the church. Perry suffered a fractured sternum, cuts and bruises. He is in "good spirits and doing well," and is expected to be released from the hospital soon, the church reported his family said.
The church expressed gratitude to the first responders at the scene who transported the three men to the hospital "resulting in them receiving immediate medical care and attention."
"The Conley, Perry and Johnson families want to express their deepest thanks and appreciation to those first responders and the medical professionals for their outstanding efforts on behalf of their family members following the accident," Cottonwood stated. The families also thanked people praying for them and for their continued prayers.
"Finally, we know you all want to express your love and care, but please at this time do not visit the hospital or try to make contact with the family. They are aware of your love and are so very grateful for your support and prayers," the update on the church website and Facebook page ended.
Conley hosts the TV program, "Answers with Bayless Conley" that reaches into over 200 nations. He is known for his clear presentation of the Bible message and "the way he applies it to everyday life," according to the church's website. Cottonwood Church is a non-denominational congregation with campuses in Cypress and Los Alamitos.
"Bayless grew up in Southern California where, during his teenage years, he became involved in a lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse," the "About" section of the website states. "After years of searching for truth, and a number of near-death experiences, he found answers and freedom in Jesus when a 12-year-old boy shared God's message of hope with him in a park one day."
On the Web: http://www.cottonwood.org/.