A “brave little girl” who survived a plane crash in Kentucky that killed four people walked barefoot and bloody to a nearby house to raise the alarm.
The injured seven-year-old, who was in a state of shock, knocked on the door of Larry Wilkins, 71, in Buckberry Trail, Lyon County on Friday evening about half an hour after the plane went down.
“She was bleeding pretty bad, her legs were bleeding, her face had a bloody nose. She was barefoot, only had one sock on,” Mr Wilkins told NBC News.
“She told me that her mom and her dad were dead, and she was in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down. She asked if she could stay here.
“I said, ‘Honey, what can I do for you?’ I got a wash cloth and cleaned her up. The little girl was so shook up we couldn’t understand much of what she said.
“I felt so sorry for her, tears come to my eyes. Seven years old. Brave little girl.”
He called the emergency services and the girl was taken to hospital and later released.
After a two-hour search that involved state police, the sheriff’s officers and fire and rescue units, the wreckage of a Piper PA-34 aircraft and the bodies of four people were found in a remote, heavily wooded area near Buckberry Trail. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Marty Gutzler, 48, Kimberly Gutzler, 46, their daughter Piper Gutzler, nine, and Piper’s cousin Sierra Walder, 14, all from Nashville, Illinois, were killed in the crash, Kentucky State Police said. The name of the seven-year-old was not released, in accordance with the wishes of family.
“It’s a miracle in a sense that she survived it, but it’s tragic that four others didn’t,” Sergeant Dean Patterson of Kentucky State Police said.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said the light plane had reported engine trouble then lost contact with air traffic controllers as it was flying over south-western Kentucky shortly before 6pm on Friday. The FAA said the plane had taken off from Tallahassee, in Florida, and had been heading for Mount Vernon, Illinois.
Sergeant Patterson said the girl told him the plane had taken off from Key West in Florida, rather than Tallahassee. He added that investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to the scene, joining FAA officials already there.
The pastor of a church near the crash site said the area was known for rough terrain and that the conditions on Friday were wet due to the persistent rain.
“That area is very rough and hilly, very heavily forested,” said the Rev Dean Weber of the Chestnut Oak United Methodist Church in Kuttawa, Kentucky.Reuse content