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11-year-old is sole survivor in plane crash after father bear-hugged her to protect her before being killed himself

‘It’s her last memory before the crash,’ girl’s mother says

Stuti Mishra
Monday 15 November 2021 16:47 GMT
(Go Fund Me/Dana Bensinger)
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An 11-year-old girl whose father died protecting her was the sole surviver of a plane crash on Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island this weekend.

Laney Perdue was on the commuter plane with her father and three others on Saturday when it crashed at the Welke Airport on Beaver Island. She was in a critical condition but is now recovering at a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. All four adults died.

She was the only survivor because her realtor father Mike Perdue from Gaylord bear-hugged her, thereby protecting her from the impact when the plane went out of control.

“It’s her last memory before the crash,” Laney’s mother Christina Perdue said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are heartbroken with the loss of my husband, a father, brother, son and friend. He gave the best bear hugs, and I believe he grabbed our daughter and protected her,” Ms Perdue said. “Our prayers are also with our island community and the other souls lost in the accident.”

The twin-engine Britten-Norman BN-2 aircraft crashed when it was landing at 1.30pm local time at Welke airport. The cause of the crash is not yet known but it is being investigated.

The plane had five people on board, including Laney and her father.

The other deceased were identified as a couple — Kate Leese, 35, and Adam Kendall, 37 — who were featured in a Detroit News article last week talking about their plans to open a winery on Beaver Island. The pilot’s identity has not been disclosed.

A helicopter crew arrived after the crash to rescue survivors but only Laney and a man were alive. Laney was given chest compressions on the way. The man, however, later lost his life.

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