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An 11-year-old girl who emerged as the sole survivor of a Michigan island plane crash that killed four people over the weekend said her father died protecting her when the plane sank.
The doomed Island Airways passenger flight took off from Charlevoix Municipal Airport at 1:32 p.m. Saturday with five people on board and crashed just 15 minutes later as it approached Welke Airport west of the city of Mackinaw.
Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office Lt. William Church identified three of the deceased as Kate Leese and Adam Kendall of Beaver Island and Mike Perdue of Gaylord.
Authorities have not released the name of the pilot who also died. Perdue’s 11-year-old daughter, Laney, was seriously injured in the accident and remained hospitalized in stable condition Sunday.
Laney’s mother, Christina Perdue, said in a statement to ABC News that the last memory of her daughter aboard the plane was of her father protecting her from the impact.
Kate Leese and Adam Kendall were killed in the crash on Beaver Island
“We are heartbroken over the loss of my husband, father, brother, son and friend. He gave the best bear hugs, and I think he grabbed our daughter and protected her, ” Christina said. “Our prayers are also with our island community and the other souls lost in the accident.”
A CaringBridge page has been launched on behalf of Christina to inform supporters of her daughter’s progress. According to the description, Laney remained alert during her rescue and was able to give first responders the name and phone number of her mother.
“She is being a soldier and very strong,” says the page. ‘There are many broken bones and wounds, but most are the ones that will heal themselves, another miracle!’
According to a Sunday entry, the 11-year-old girl underwent surgery to have a pin inserted into her left foot and a wire was placed in her jaw “to allow for healing and alignment.”
Meanwhile, a loved one has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the Perdue family financially, which has raised more than $ 53,000 in donations as of Monday.
Mike Perdue worked as a real estate agent in Gaylord, Michigan, where he lived with his wife, two daughters, and his two young sons.
The crash also claimed the lives of Leese, 35, and Kendall, 37, who posted a video of a flight they took over Beaver Island just days before the fatal crash. The couple’s two dogs, who were aboard the plane on Saturday, also died.
Leese, a biochemist, and Kendall, an attorney, had recently settled on Beaver Island after spending years traveling. They had planned to open Antho Vineyards, a winery and tasting room, on the island of Lake Michigan.
“It feels like a place somewhere on the highway where you can stop and have a glass of wine with new friends,” Leese told The Detroit News in an article published a week before the accident. “Our goal is to have that kind of place that brings people together.”
The couple were also in the process of renovating a century-old farmhouse on the island, in which they had decided to make their new home due to its peaceful atmosphere.
“Almost immediately after we got to the marina here, we knew this was the level of quiet we were looking for,” Kendall told the newspaper. ‘At night, there is almost complete silence here. … It’s the kind of place we were looking for as our next place. ‘
They referred to themselves on social media as ‘travelers turned farmers’ and said they had lived in ‘more than 200 places on an Airstream and [an] old ship since 2016.’
On Thursday, they posted a video showing the wheels of a flight they were taking floating several miles off the coast of Beaver Island, with the caption: ‘Flying (again!) To take the big dog on his third date with him. vet. Crossing all fingers and toes for better news.
In another post, on October 29, the couple shared another image of a flight they took over the island, showing trees of all colors surrounding a path leading to the beach.
It said, ‘That little road leads to one of our favorite campgrounds, and now we somehow live on the other side of the epic vista. Life is wild. ‘
They used their shared Instagram page, ‘lifewithoutwaiting,’ to post photos from their cross-country adventures and share photos of their dogs, Frank and Barker.
One posted Friday showed the two dogs lying on top of a bed in the back of an ambulance they converted into a living space, and another posted that same day showed Leese and Kendall standing outside a trailer with their two dogs, a the ones they called a ‘family photo.’
“We have owned this draft for six years and this is our first family photo on the door,” the caption read. ‘Thank you @mmivphoto for these happy impromptu photos. I always want to remember us like that. ‘
The aircraft crashed at Welke Airport, 35 miles away
The twin-engine Britten-Norman plane with a pilot and four passengers on board was flying from Charlevoix on Michigan’s lower peninsula, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
The aircraft crashed at Welke Airport, 35 miles away, as it was about to land.
A Coast Guard helicopter was undergoing training when they received the emergency alarm of the accident. They were reportedly able to see debris on the island and local medical teams were already responding.
The helicopter transported two people to the hospital: Mike and Laney Perdue.
The Coast Guard said officers were performing chest compressions on the 11-year-old girl as they airlifted her to a hospital in Petoskey.
Her father initially survived, but succumbed to injuries on the way to the hospital.
Laney was later transferred to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids for further treatment.
The cause of the accident has yet to be determined and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to Island Airways, this is the first accident the airline has had.
Another airline operating out of Beaver Island experienced a fatal accident on a foggy day in February 2001 when a pilot and passenger were killed when the plane landed in a thicket of trees nearly two miles from the airport runway.
A mother and her three children survived and waited in the woods to be rescued, enduring winter temperatures for more than 15 hours, according to News-Review.
Laney Perdue Quick and Facts
- Laney Perdue, 11, survived plane crash that killed everyone else on board, including her father, Mike Perdue, on Beaver Island, Michigan
- Laney’s mother said girl’s final memory before impact was of her father protecting her
- Mike Perdue, married dad-of-four real estate agent, died en route to the hospital
- Laney suffered multiple broken bones and underwent surgery
- Saturday’s crash also killed Kate Leese, Adam Kendall and the pilot of the plane who has not been named
- Leese and Kendall had recently moved to Beaver Island in Northern Lake Michigan and were planning on opening a vineyard together
- Just days before, the couple posted a video of a flight they took over the island