Girl (7) walks away from plane crash that killed parents and everyone else on board
A seven-year-old girl has walked away from a plane crash that killed her parents and everyone else on board in the US.
The child, who has not been named, managed to climb out the wreckage of the light aircraft and knock on a stranger’s door in Kentucky to raise the alarm.
She was disorientated and crying, police said, but did not have serious injuries.
The Piper PA-34 had gone down near Kentucky Lake, a popular tourist attraction, after reporting engine trouble and losing contact with air traffic controllers at about 5.55pm local time yesterday (11.55pm GMT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.
About half an hour later, a man in Lyon County called police and told them that the girl had walked to his home and said she had been involved in a plane crash.
Larry Wilkins, 71, told NBC when he answered his door on Friday night there was a “little girl” standing there barefooted who was “bleeding pretty badly”.
“She told me that her mum and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down,” he said.
“She asked if she could stay here. I got a wash cloth and cleaned her up. And of course called 911,” he added. “I felt so sorry for her, tears come to my eyes. Brave little girl.”
Kentucky State Police named those killed in the crash as Marty Gutzler, 49, Kimberly Gutzler, 45, their nine-year-old daughter, Piper Gutzler and Piper's 14-year-old cousin, Sierra Walder.
The family are believed to have been returning home after celebrating New Year in Key West, Florida. Mr Gutzler had posted pictures of the celebrations on Facebook along with photos from the flight there, showing the children in the plane's rear seats.
“This girl came out of the wreckage herself and found the closest residence and reported the plane crash,” said Sergeant Dean Patterson of Kentucky State Police. “It's a miracle in a sense that she survived it, but it's tragic that four others didn't.”
Police have not confirmed the girl's relationship to the crash victims.
She was taken to hospital for treatment as authorities launched a search for the plane. It was found about two hours later in a heavily-wooded area near the lake, with the four bodies of the pilot and three passengers inside.
A spokesperson for the FAA said the aircraft had taken off from Tallahassee Regional Airport, Florida, and was bound for Mount Vernon, Illinois.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Belfast Telegraph Digital