Young girl survives deadly plane crash in western Kentucky

GILBERTSVILLE, KENTUCKY (BNO NEWS) -- Four people were killed Friday when a small plane crashed in a wooded area in western Kentucky, but a young girl miraculously survived and was able to walk to a nearby house to raise the alarm, local authorities said on Saturday.

The twin-engine Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II aircraft was carrying five family members on a flight from Key West, Florida, to Mount Vernon, Illinois, when the pilot reported engine problems and attempted to divert to Kentucky Dam State Airport. A distress call was received before contact was lost, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

Sgt. Dean Patterson of the Kentucky State Police said a Lyon County resident called 911 at 6:30 p.m. local time after a 7-year-old girl walked up to his residence and said she had been in a plane crash. "The juvenile was in distress and was transported to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries," Patterson said.

Emergency services searched the area and found the wreckage within two hours in a wooded area off of Buckberry Trail, which runs off of KY 810 South. "Investigators on scene confirm four fatalities at the crash site. The fatalities account for the pilot and remaining passengers," Patterson said.

The four victims were identified as 49-year-old Marty Gutzler, 45-year-old Kimberly Gutzler, their 9-year-old daughter Piper Gutzler, and Piper's cousin, 14-year-old Sierra Wilder. The name of the surviving girl was not released at the request of the family, but both the Gutzler family and Wilder are from Nashville, Illinois.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will both investigate the cause of Friday's accident.

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