7-year-old who survived plane crash may help investigation

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KUTTAWA, Ky.- A 7-year-old girl could be the key to finding out what caused a plane to go down in western Kentucky Friday night.

Sailor Gutzler is the only one left alive in the plane crash that killed four of her family members.

She managed to walk a mile with a broken wrist through the woods in her bare feet to get help.

Federal investigators say Gutzler’s account could help them determine what caused it.

Her father, a former commercial pilot who was at the controls, died. Her mother Kim, 9-year-old sister Piper and 14-year-old cousin Sierra Wilder also died in the crash.

Wilder’s mother told CBS News Monday “my baby girl was the sweetest, kindest person you will ever come across… words cannot express how much she’s missed now and forever.”

Kentucky authorities say Sailor used her non-injured arm to free herself from the wreckage.

“She believed her family was deceased but, she hoped they were just sleeping.”

She then trekked nearly a mile in the pitch black, through heavy woods. She was barefoot, wearing only shorts and a t-shirt in the near freezing cold before finally stumbling on Larry Wilkin’s home.

“I’ve seen a bloody little girl. With tears in her eyes, her lips trembling,” said Wilkins. “She wanted me to go with her because she didn’t know anybody else.”

Friends, family and a stunned community are now left grieving the loss, while grateful for the one life that was spared.

“Bravest kid I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Wilkins.

Officials say they’ll have a preliminary report ready in nine days, but an official announcement on what caused the crash could take up to a year.

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