BEAVER ISLAND, Mich. – The mother of an 11-year-old girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash on Michigan’s Beaver Island that killed her father and three others believes her husband protected her from more serious injuries by holding her tightly as the plane went down.
Christina Perdue said Laney “has a long road ahead of her" and remains hospitalized with five broken bones she suffered in Saturday's crash on the island in Lake Michigan.
She said her late husband, Mike Perdue of Gaylord, held Laney tightly when the twin-engine commuter plane crashed on Beaver Island, which is located west of Mackinaw City.
“Laney told me in the hospital that her last memory is that dad just grabbed her and held her really, really tight, and in my heart I know that protected her," she said in an interview aired Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Because her daughter's injuries were on one side of her body, she said she believes the embrace by her husband, who was known for his warm hugs, protected Laney from more severe injuries.
“I believe that it would make sense to me that her injuries were on the one side, and the other side was with her dad, that he was holding her," Christina Perdue said, choking up.
After Laney was airlifted to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Christie Perdue rushed there not knowing the extent of her daughter's injuries. She said she was relieved when she got to her bedside.
“She just said `Hi, mom, hi mom,′ and so I just knew at that moment that that part was going to be OK," she said.
Saturday's crash killed Perdue's husband, who was a real estate agent, as well as the pilot of the twin-engine plane and a couple who was planning to open a winery and vineyard on the island.
The plane was flying from Charlevoix to the island when it crashed, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The federal agency said it would take part in an investigation led by the National Transportation Safety Board.