(KUTTAWA, Ky.) — A team with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Kentucky on Sunday to investigate a small plane crash in which a 7-year-old girl survived and four of her family members were killed.
Sailor Gutzler walked roughly a quarter of a mile through a dense, wooded area in Kuttawa, Kentucky, to the home of Larry Wilkins on Friday night after the crash.
“She thought her arm was broken,” said Wilkins. “She was barefooted. She had one sock.”
The crash happened about 6 p.m., shortly after the girl’s father, Marty Gutzler, reported engine problems and air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. The family was flying from Florida to their hometown in Nashville, Illinois.
Federal Aviation Administration records show that Gutzler was an experienced commercial pilot and certified flight instructor.
He and his wife Kimberly Gutzler, 46; their daughter, Piper Gutzler, 9; and, the girl’s cousin, Sierra Wilder, 14, were all killed in the crash.
Kentucky State Police Lt. Brent White said the girl had to cross two embankments, a hill and a creek bed to get from the site of the crash to Wilkins’ house, and the temperatures were below 40 degrees.
Wilkins called 911 as he cleaned up the disoriented girl who arrived on his doorstep.
“I just can’t imagine a 7-year-old walking through those woods at night by herself,” said Wilkins. “She’s just a little girl who needed some help.”
The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was treated and released to a family member.
Her parents owned a furniture store in Nashville, Illinois. Fred Prug, a family friend, said Marty had made the same trip to Florida before.
“He loved flying,” said Prug. “You didn’t have a conversation with Marty without him talking about flying.”
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