Plane Crash Kills Hedge Fund Manager, Child and Pilot

Rescuers have brought Francesca Lewis to a hospital in Panama.

ByABC News
February 9, 2009, 9:27 AM

Dec. 26, 2007 — -- Twelve-year-old American Francesca Lewis — the only survivor of a fatal plane crash in Panama, which killed three people — was airlifted today to a hospital in the town of David, about 30 miles east of the mountainous crash site.

Francesca was found Tuesday, walking near the wreckage of the Cessna 172 at an altitude of 3,500 feet in a jungle-covered area by the Baru volcano in Panama. Francesca was able to walk but suffered hypothermia. She was carried on a stretcher to the hospital, where she is being treated for multiple injuries.

The plane carrying Francesca was owned by California hedge fund owner Michael Klein, who died in Sunday's crash, along with his daughter Talia, 13, and Panamanian pilot Edwin Lasso, 23. Francesca was Talia's friend and was vacationing with the family.

Rescuers had to hike for hours through dense jungle to reach the crash site.

Francesca's mother, Valerie Froscher-Lewis, told The Associated Press that her daughter sounded well during a phone conversation. "My husband spoke to her by phone this morning. She sounded good. She just said, 'Hi, Daddy. See you soon.'"

The plane took off Sunday from Islas Secas, off the Pacific coast of Panama, where the group had been vacationing on an island Klein owned. Before the plane dropped off radar, it was headed toward the Chiriqui volcano, which is located 385 miles west of Panama City.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

The Klein family had offered a $25,000 reward to find Klein and the two children after the plane disappeared. The family received word later that day that Panamanian rescue workers had recovered three bodies from the crash.

Klein was CEO and president of Pacificor LLC, an investment advising company that owns several hedge funds. Klein graduated from college at 17 and started MIBEK Corp, a developer of financial analysis software. He is also well-known for his role as president and CEO of eGroups Inc., the world's largest group e-mail communication service, which was acquired by Yahoo! Inc. for $450 million in August 2000.

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