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Report: Child Survives Lyon County Plane Crash That Leaves Four Dead


Federal investigators are responding to a small plane crash in Lyon County that killed four and left a 7-year-old girl as its lone survivor. The flight departed from Key West Florida Friday in route to Mount Vernon Illinois. 

The victims have been identified as:

  • Marty Gutzler, 48 (father)
  • Kimberly Gutzler, 46 (mother)
  • Piper Gutzler, 9 (daughter)
  • Sierra Wilder, 14 (cousin of Piper Gutzler)

The Gutzler family and Wilder were each from Nashville, IL. The name of the surviving 7-year-old passenger is being withheld at the request of family.

Kentucky State Police report the young girl received minor injuries and walked from the  crash site nearly a quarter mile to a home and told the residents of the crash. They then called police. Sgt. Dean Patterson with the Kentucky State Police reports the plane was a twin engine piper. 

“We were able to confirm with the FAA there was a distress call put out by a small private aircraft near the area from where the report had come of some engine trouble,” said Trooper Dean Patterson. 

Weather conditions included a north wind and low visibility. The young girl is in a local hospital receiving treatment for her injuries. Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White says search crews began looking for the plane shortly after police received the call around 6:30 Friday evening.  White says Sheriff Kent Murphy was among the search members. "He stopped and asked the Lord for help and looked up and saw the top missing from a tree," White said. "And soon after located the plane upside down."

White says it was, "amazing," the girl survived and, by chance, chose the correct direction to walk toward a home. He continued, "if she had walked in any other direction she could still be walking."

Kentucky State Police are in the process of notifying next of kin. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board will be on scene Saturday to assess the crash.  

UPDATE 10:27 P.M.: Investigators have learned that the small aircraft had departed from Key West, Florida earlier Friday. It was headed toward Mt. Vernon, Illinois. It was a Piper PA-34-200T, which KSP officials describe as a fixed-wing, multiple-engine aircraft. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will arrive at the site Saturday.

Credit KSP/Wikipedia

UPDATE 9:28 P.M.: KSP officials say the plane's wreckage has been found in a wooded area near KY 810 South. Four fatalities have been confirmed, accounting for the pilot and remaining passengers. Their names won't be released pending identification and notification of the next of kin. 

UPDATE 8:57 P.M.: Kentucky State Police are searching for a plane believed to have crashed near the area of KY 810 South in Lyon County.

At approximately 6:30 PM CST, KSP received a 911 call from a Lyon County resident that said a 7-year-old female had walked to his home and claimed to have been involved in a plane crash.

The juvenile is under treatment for non-life threatening injuries.  

As of 8:57 P.M., a crash site has not been found, but the FAA Center in Memphis has confirmed a distress call from a private aircraft in the area where the plane is believed to have gone down.

We'll continue to update this post as more comes in.

ORIGINAL STORY: Little is known at this time, but the Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted and are assisting the investigation. 

The KSP's collaborating with the county sheriff's office and multiple fire and rescue units to comb the area.

We'll update this post as more information comes in.

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