Girl Survives Plane Crash in Kentucky

She walked a quarter of a mile looking for help after crash killed her parents, sister and cousin.
6:42 | 01/03/15

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Transcript for Girl Survives Plane Crash in Kentucky
especially on this morning with the incredible story breaking overnight. How a young 7-year-old girl became the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed her family. They were flying home from Florida when something went very, very wrong on their private plane. One of the engines failed. And minutes later, the crash in the woods in the Kentucky. We have team coverage. And start with Gloria Riviera. Good morning. Reporter: Good morning. Authorities say this plane went down just 7 miles from a local airport after the pilot made that severe distress call. It would end in tragedy for everyone on board but one. A very special, very brave little girl. Overnight investigators still searching for answers as to what took down this family east's plane flying from key west to Illinois. Just outside Memphis, Tennessee, air traffic control lost contact with the plane after receiving a distress call that one of its engines had failed. Minutes later, the piper pa-34 crashing into a remote wooded area in Kentucky. The only survivor on board, a 7-year-old girl able to escape on foot, walking a quarter of a quite a while through hilly terrain and dense woods to a nearby home. A 7-year-old has just come out of the woods alone. Scratched up and thing she was involved in a plane crash. Reporter: Larry Wilkins tells ABC news she was disoriented and had a body nose. About 20 minutes after 6:00, the dogs heard a knock on the door. And opened the door, and there's a little girl, about 7 years old. Bloody, has a bloody nose, legs and arms were bleeding. Crying. And she told me that her parents were dead. And she had been in a plane crash. And the plane was upside down. Reporter: She was transported to a nearby hospital, minister rack lousily with only minor injuries. I'm going to need an ems down here. Reporter: Officials confirms overnight, her family on board that small plane, her mother, father, older sister and 14-year-old cousin all dead by the time authorities discovered the plane's wreckage. This morning mourners have begun flooding the victim's Facebook page with condolences. Kentucky police call this little girl's trek to safety nothing short of amazing. Her walk on the cold, wet night after such trauma, this was not a heavily populated area. Just one home in the dense area. But she made it. Amazing she found her way to the house. Perhaps there was a light on. Extraordinary story. Great to hear. Thank you. And now turn to colonel Steve Michigan began yard. According to what the little girl told a neighbor, the plane was flying upside down, especially after the pilot was having engine trouble. We don't know what happened to the airplane after it impacted into the woods. Perhaps it flipped upside down when it impacted. It's rough terrain, it's night time. Losing an engine in a heavily-loaded airplane, that's a tough situation for any pilot to be in. It's a piper pa-34, I believe, is what it's called, it has two engines, aren't they designed to fly with just one engine? It's called a Seneca, yes, it should be able to. Designed to fly on one engine. It's so heavily loaded. It's night time. If you lose an engine, there's pilot proficiency. We don't know what else was going on. What's the safety record of this plane? It's good. It's a good airplane in production for a long time. But, again, very tough situation. We don't know what else was going on. This pilot had his hands full. Was there an airport nearby to try to land safely? He was trying to make his way to put the airplane down. We don't know the circumstances and how close he was to the airport. But, again, in heavily terrained area. We do know the 7-year-old was the only survivor. The seat configuration is 2-2-2. Was she sitting in the back and it could have contributed to her survival? She could have been. If she was at the back, she would have been prevented -- most of the plane would have cushioned her in the front of the airplane. That could be where she was. It's a miracle she survive something this feshl and tragic. A miracle indeed. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. And bring in senior medical contributor Dr. Jen Ashton. Good morning. Good morning. We have heard of stories where the survivor is a child. Is there a medical reason? It does seem so anecdotely, but there's no medical reason for that. Kids are resilient. Where you're seated, and again with any high-speed trauma, restrained or unrestraibt strained. Whether you have a seat belt on or not. How do you explain she was able to get out and through the woods to find a stranger. This is the fight or flight response. The adrenaline, stress hormone. Clearly there's emotional shock as well as physical shock. If she survives without a head injury, she's talking about a five to 15 minute walk through the dark in very scary situation. It's incredible. Given the fact that nobody else survived, what kind of injuries do you think we're dealing with for this little girl this morning? There's a principle in emergency medicine with a motor vehicle accident. There are fatales at the scene, gives us an indication of the degree of trauma. When there are no survivors, it tells us the impact, the velocity was significant. We worry about deceleration injuries, the internal blood vessels are torn, head trauma, fractions. And the psychological trauma. She lost her family. I was going to ask about that. What do you do about the psychology trauma. The medical is the easy part, the counselling, the emotional part. That's going to take months if not years. Great to have your insight. We appreciate it. She sounded like she was in shock. And was aware of the fact that her parents were both dead. Incredible story. Thank you. And moving on to the other

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