Plane crash survivor, Autumn Veatch, was found alive on Monday two days after her plane went down in the Washington State wilderness, with authorities saying the 16-year-old walked through the forest to make her way back to safety.
Veatch was in a plane with her step-grandparents, Leland and Sharon Bowman, when it crashed in Okanogan County on Saturday. Search crews combed the forest for the plane after it failed to reach its destination, and five aircraft searched the mountainous region trying to locate the missing plane’s emergency locator beacon.
But those leading the search said the rugged terrain made the efforts extremely difficult, KVAL reported.
“These grids contain some of the toughest mountainous terrain in the state,” Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman Julie DeBardelaben said.
But while the search efforts were going on, plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch was making her way through the wilderness, making it to a trailhead where she was spotted by a motorist and driven to a store in nearby Mazama.
“A motorist brought in a young woman who they found near Easy Pass, which is a trail on Highway 20,” said Serena Lockwood, the store’s manager. “She said she had been in a plane crash on Saturday and had been wandering in the woods since then.”
Lockwood said she was in disbelief when she heard the girl had survived a plane crash, but said the teen looked in shock.
“She had like some branches and twigs in her jacket and some scrapes on her face, but I think the main thing was she just seemed in shock,” said Lockwood.
Family members were overjoyed at the development, and her father confirmed her discovery with a Facebook post on Monday.
“Autumn is OK!!” David Veatch wrote.
David had been less optimistic just a day before when he noted that he had a bad feeling about the flight.
“I just, I had a bad feeling about it when they told me what was going on,” Veatch said on Sunday night.
While Autum Veatch is now safe, authorities have not given an update on Autumn’s step-grandparents.
“We’re not going into the status of the grandparents. She was the only one who walked out,” Rogers said. “She just said they came out of the clouds, and it crashed.”
But search crews said they are not giving up looking for the plane, and said there is still hope for the two missing people.
“We are not ruling out hope for these individuals and we are very hopeful that these individuals will be found and there’s still plenty of time for that,” Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Jeffrey Lustick told KIRO.
Plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition. Authorities have not given an update on the status of her grandparents.
[Image via Facebook]