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7-Year-Old Plane Crash Survivor Hoped Parents, Sister Were ‘Just Sleeping’

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Editor’s Note: This heartbreaking story first appeared on ABC News. We reprint here.

A 7-year-old girl who survived a plane crash and then trekked nearly a mile through dense woods to get help held out hope that her parents, sister and cousin might somehow have survived, too, police said today.

“She indicated to us that she believed her family was deceased but that she hoped they were just sleeping,” Kentucky State Police Lt. Brent White said. “I was literally just struck by how calm she was able to be and the ability for her to give us this information.”

Sailor Gutzler suffered a broken bone in her wrist in the crash, White said. The girl tried lighting a glow or torch stick to help illuminate her way out of the dense woods where the plane crashed, but the stick failed to light, he said.

White said the girl freed herself from the aircraft and walked about 15 to 20 minutes toward a light coming from the home of Larry Wilkins, who called 911 when she arrived.

“She navigated thick trees, briars, and bushes to get to the home,” White said.

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