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article imageBrave teen survives plane crash, walks for days to safety

By Caroline Leopold     Jul 14, 2015 in Odd News
A teenager who survived a plane crash in the forested mountains of Washington state emerged from the wilderness after hiking for days before she was picked up by a motorist who drove her to safety, authorities said.
Authorities in Washington state said that Autumn Veatch, 16, was picked up by motorist two days after a light aircraft carrying three people went down in the mountains.
The teenager was the only apparent survivor of the plane wreck and that that her two step-grandparents, who were also on the plane, died in the accident, Sheriff Frank Rogers of Okanogan County said.
Family members alerted authorities that the Beech A-35 light plane failed to finish its flight from Kalispell, Montana, to Lynden, Washington, on Saturday afternoon. Rescuers narrowed a search area based on cellphone data and typical flight patterns, but could not find the plane. At the same time, the teen was finding her own way to help.
Autumn told authorities that she tried to pull her step-grandparents, Leland and Sharon Bowman, from the wreck with no success and then she waited for rescuers to arrive. When no help arrived, the teenager set out into the thick forest and mountainous terrain and followed a river trail to Highway 20, near the east entrance to North Cascades national park.
Once on the highway, the teen flagged down a motorist who drove her to a general store 30 miles away. The girl had been walking for about two days.
The store employees called 911 and according to an excerpt of the call posted by CNN, Autumn said she "I have a lot of burns on my hands and I am covered with bruises and scratches and stuff," the teen told authorities. "I'm the only one who made it out...Yeah, I'm the only one who survived."
A paramedic team took her to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster for treatment of what seemed to be minor injuries and dehydration. At the hospital, Autumn was in remarkably good and health and asked food — for McDonald's, according to local Washington NBC affiliate, King5 News. The teenager hadn't eaten for days.
“Our initial information is she sustained no life-threatening injuries and is somewhat dehydrated due to being out in the elements,” said Scott Graham, chief executive officer at Three Rivers hospital, according to The Guardian. The girl was being evaluated on Monday evening, he said.
Autumn's father, David Veatch, rushed to his daughter's side and told reporters, as recorded by CNN, "She's pretty banged up...I really want to get her into counseling." The father added, "[The step-grandparents] were playing a part as grandparents, [it's] hitting her really hard."
While rescuers celebrated Autumn's miraculous survival, the search is still underway for the plane and the missing family members. According to the Washington Department of Transportation blog, which is posting updates on the search, the plane has not been found.
More about Plane crash, teen survivor, small airplane, Washington state
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