Jodee Hogg is not angry at officials who thought she and everyone aboard a plane perished in a wilderness crash south of Montana's Glacier National Park. She's just happy to be alive.
"I'm ready to close the book and move on and get my life started again," Hogg told ABC News' Good Morning America in an exclusive interview.
Hogg and Matthew Ramige — both employees of the U.S. Forest Service — were the sole survivors of a horrific plane crash that killed three of their colleagues, Ken Good, Davita Long and Jim Long, on Sept. 20. The fiery crash was so devastating that rescue authorities believed no one could have survived and declared everyone aboard the plane dead.
Then, as the families of Hogg and Ramige were planning their funerals, authorities gave them miraculous news: their loved ones were alive.
After the crash, Hogg, 23, opened the plane door and, falling out, pulled Ramige, 29, from the burning plane. Jim Long reportedly undid Good's seatbelt and pushed him out of the plane before succumbing to the smoke and flames. Good eventually died of his injuries.
A Twin Sister’s Intuition
Battered and burned, Hogg and Ramige hiked five miles over 29 hours through difficult terrain until they reached a highway and were spotted by a motorist.
Hogg's twin sister, Kyna, told Good Morning America that she always believed Jodee had survived, despite authorities' initial grim news.
"I knew she was alive," Kyna Hogg said. "I told my mom when she called me the first time [to tell me about the crash]. I said, 'Well, it's OK. She's still alive."
Jodee Hogg said she does not remember much about the crash itself. She said she, Ramige and Good made a shelter out of the plane wreckage during their first night of survival after the crash. Before Good died, they all tried to keep each other warm in 20-degree temperatures by huddling together and sharing their body heat.
"I just remember the impact," she said. "It was a loud noise, the plane caught on fire, and I was just trying to get my seatbelt undone and get out the door. … Matt didn't have a shirt because his had been burned off. So we did, like, a Matt sandwich between Ken and I. And we just held on to each other all night and talked and just hoped … hoped they [authorities] would come get us."
Continuing to ‘Fly High’
Authorities have apologized for assuming the deaths of Hogg and Ramige. Hogg's brother has said that there's a reason she survived — she has some more work to do.
In her obituary, Hogg's family said they wanted her to continue to fly high in death.
"We just wanted her to know we were still with her and cared about her still and will always care about her," said Kyna Hogg.
Their message still rings true, now that Jodie Hogg has cheated death.