A 16-year-old girl, who survived a plane crash believed to have killed her step-grandparents on Saturday, was cleared to leave a Washington state hospital late Tuesday.
Dr. James Wallace of Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster, Washington, told reporters that Autumn Veatch had been through “quite an ordeal,” but despite everything was “doing very well.” Wallace added the teen had been treated for severe dehydration and exhaustion, as well as minor burns and bruises sustained during Saturday’s plane crash.
Authorities are still searching for any sign of the red-and-white Beech 35 aircraft and its other two occupants, 63-year-old Leland Bowman and his 62-year-old wife Sharon, Fox News reported. The tri had been scheduled to fly from Kalispell, Mont. To Lynden, Wash. when the small plane crashed. Family members alerted authorities when the plane failed to arrive on schedule Saturday evening.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers, who interviewed Veatch and provided exclusive details of her ordeal to the Associated Press, said that Veatch told him the plane entered a cloud bank. Then the clouds suddenly parted, and from her seat behind the cockpit, Veatch saw a mountain and trees ahead. Leland Bowman, who was the pilot of the plane, unsuccessfully tried to pull up. The plane hit the trees, falling to the ground and catching fire.
“She tried to do what she could to help her grandparents,” Rogers said of Veatch, “but she couldn’t because of the fire.”
According to authorities, Veatch walked down the slope of the mountain and then proceeded to follow a creek to a nearby river. She spent Saturday night on a sandbar, where she felt was safe. She drank small amounts of water but was afraid she would get sick if she drank more.
She followed the river to a trail to a highway. Two men driving picked her up Monday afternoon, brining her to the safety of a general store in Mazama, a tiny town in north-central Washington. There she called the authorities.