Girl, 7, survives plane crash that kills parents, sister, and cousin.

Seven-Year-Old Girl Survives Plane Crash That Kills Parents, Sister, and Cousin

Seven-Year-Old Girl Survives Plane Crash That Kills Parents, Sister, and Cousin

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Jan. 3 2015 11:32 AM

Seven-Year-Old Girl Survives Plane Crash That Kills Parents, Sister, and Cousin

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A Piper PA-34-200T similar to the one that killed almost an entire family in remote eastern Kentucky on Friday.

Andreas Hoppe/Wikimedia

Larry Wilkins, 71, was watching the local news in remote western Kentucky on Friday afternoon when he heard a barely audible knock at the front door.* He opened it to see a young girl. “She was bleeding pretty bad, her legs were bleeding, her face had a bloody nose. She was barefoot, only had one sock on,” Wilkins told NBC. The girl proceeded to explain to Wikins that her mom and dad had been killed, and that she had been in a plane crash “and the plane was upside down.” The girl’s sister and cousin also died when the Piper PA-34 aircraft crashed after the pilot reported engine problems while they were flying from Key West, Florida to Mount Vernon, Illinois.

After the crash, the 7-year-old walked three-quarters of a mile through “very, very rough territory” until she came across Wilkins’ home, according to CNN. “She's a terribly brave little girl, I'll tell you that,” Wilkins said. He called 911 and police took the girl to the hospital with minor injuries.

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"They seemed surprised when I said I had a 7-year-old girl here who said she was in a plane crash," Wilkins told ABC News. "I just pray for her. She's gonna need a lot of help. I just can't imagine someone that young going through that, especially to witness it—to witness her parents dying. It's amazing that she held up as good as she did."  

Those killed in the crash were: Marty Gutzler, 49; Kimberly Gutzler, 45; Piper Gutzler, 9; and Sierra Walder, 14. The identity of the 7-year-old girl was not released.

*Correction, Jan. 5, 2014: This post originally misstated the location of the plane crash.  

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.