Toddler wouldn't leave plane crash wreckage without teddy bear
Rescuers who helped find a 3-year-old girl alive in the crumpled wreckage of an airplane say they knew she was OK when she cried for her...
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
GOLDEN, British Columbia — Rescuers who helped find a 3-year-old girl alive in the crumpled wreckage of an airplane say they knew she was OK when she cried for her teddy bear.
The girl survived the crash on Sunday because she was strapped into a child's car seat, said Mike Plonka, a member of Golden's search-and-rescue team.
Her pilot grandfather, Allan D. Williams, 65, and another man died in the accident. The plane was found nose down and flipped over in the icy water at the edge of a riverbank in the rugged mountains of southeast British Columbia.
"What saved her life was being strapped into that car seat," Plonka said Monday.
"You could see that she was very scared. Her big concern at the time was her little teddy bear. She didn't want to leave without it."
"She was just pointing at it and calling it 'Baby."'
The girl, who suffered head injuries but was listed as stable, was reunited with her parents, said hospital officials here.
The girl and her parents were to be flown to the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary. Their names were not immediately available.
Police said the Cessna 172 was on its way to Edmonton when it took off from Golden around 1 p.m. Sunday into low clouds and snow. Visibility was poor.
An hour later, the Search and Rescue Centre in Victoria picked up the aircraft's emergency locator transmitter signal from somewhere near the Blaeberry River.
The crash scene was found by a team using a hand-held beacon locator, and two military search and rescue technicians — Sgt. Scott Elliston and Master Cpl. Bruno Lapointe — landed nearby in a helicopter.
As they checked the wreckage for survivors, they discovered the girl alive but surrounded by debris in the back of the plane. The two soldiers tried to remove her from the wreckage, but she made it clear she didn't want to leave without her teddy bear.
"I got her out and I handed her to Bruno. She was calling out for her teddy bear. I picked up the teddy bear to give it to her but it was covered in snow. She wasn't too happy that it was covered in snow so I brushed it off," Elliston said.
"Everyone is happy that the child survived this."
The cause of the accident was under investigation. It is the latest in a number of crashes in the rough terrain of British Columbia.
On Friday, a Piper Malibu flying from Oregon to Alberta crashed about 6 miles east of Invermere, killing all three people aboard. And earlier last week, another Cessna 172 disappeared while flying to Qualicum on Vancouver Island. Pilot Ron Boychuk was on his way from Revelstoke, but his plane never arrived.
His family asked the public to look out for the 61-year-old, who is an experienced outdoorsman.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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