by Chinwe Okafor
Miracles do happen. A 7-year-old girl has survived a plane crash that left four people dead on Friday night.
The disoriented little girl walked away from the wreckage and reported the crash to a local resident, authorities said.
The small Piper PA-34 reported engine trouble and lost contact with air traffic controllers as it was flying over the southwestern part of Kentucky about 5:55 p.m. CST, the FAA said.
About a half hour later, a Lyon County resident called 911 and told dispatchers that a 7-year-old girl had walked to his home and said she had been involved in a plane crash, said Sgt. Dean Patterson of the Kentucky State Police.
“This girl came out of the wreckage herself and found the closest residence and reported the plane crash,” Patterson said. “It’s a miracle in a sense that she survived it, but it’s tragic that four others didn’t.”
The girl was in emotional distress and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Patterson said.
At that point, authorities launched a search for the crash site and also confirmed with the FAA that they had received a distress call. About two hours later, authorities found the crash site in a heavily wooded area near Kentucky lake, a popular tourist attraction in the state.
They discovered four bodies, including the pilot and the three passengers. The victims have been identified and their next of kin have been notified, according to Kentucky State police, KFVS News reported.
They are Marty Gutzler, 49; Kimberly Gutzler, 45; Piper Gutzler, 9; and Sierra Wilder, 14. The name of the 7-year-old is being withheld at the request of the family.
Patterson said the plane had taken off from Key West, Fla., and was headed to Mount Vernon, Ill.. The identities of the deceased and the survivor were not immediately released. Patterson said he didn’t know the girl’s relationship to the people on the plane.