Eleven-Year-Old Plane Crash Survivor Speaks Out After Her Dad Died To Save Her
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A girl who survived a plane crash because her father locked her in a bear hug has spoken out after the tragic accident that killed her dad and three others.
Laney Perdue was the only survivor.
The pair were travelling to see a family friend, and 43-year-old Mike was going on a hunting trip.
After bidding farewell to the rest of their family, they set off in the small aeroplane.
“I was so excited,” Laney told People.
Before they left, Mike hugged his wife Christie and their three children Addie, Henrik, and Bo goodbye.
They weren’t to know that it was the last time they’d see him alive, or that his hugs would save Laney’s life.
Christie said: "He gave me this huge hug, let go for a minute and then squeezed me super tight again.
"Mike is known for his bear hugs."
When they were on board the flight, alongside married couple Kate Leese and Adam Kendall as well as pilot William Julian, Laney remembers peering through ‘one of those little windows and seeing the grass and feeling my dad's arm around me’.
She explained: "I felt this feeling in my stomach like the plane just dropped, and my dad had his feet out like he was bracing for something.
"The last thing I remember is my dad giving me the tightest hug ever.
“I'm alive because of him."
Laney was the only one to survive the impact, emerging with 11 broken bones and injuries to her lip and mouth.
The emergency responders who arrived at the scene said that her dad protected her from more severe injury or worse.
Upon waking up, Laney eventually learned that her dad was gone, but decided to honour his memory by walking at his funeral.
Following surgery on her jaw and foot, she moved from a wheelchair to crutches and managed to use them to walk behind her dad’s coffin.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the family’s expenses.
Laney remembers Mike as ‘the best girl dad’ who enjoyed ‘the little moments in life’.
She said: "Every day he would wake up and be like, 'You guys are beautiful. You guys are special.'
"He was amazing."
Now, the grieving family keep his memory alive by writing down their memories in a book, and are planning to return to Beaver Island before too long.
Christie said: "Years ago, he said, 'Promise me if something ever happens to me, you keep coming to the island with the kids.'”
She added: "It's the greatest tragedy and the greatest joy. We lost Mike, but we kept Laney."
Laney concluded: "I'm so sad, but I know Dad would want us to be okay. He would want us to live."