Michigan Plane Crash: Community Mourns Father Who Died Protecting Daughter, the Sole Survivor

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The father of an 11-year-old girl, who became the sole survivor of a Michigan plane crash, died while protecting his daughter, according to his wife.

Mike Perdue of Gaylord, Michigan, was on board the small plane heading to Beaver Island with his daughter and another pair of passengers when the unexpected tragedy happened. In a statement, his wife, Christina Purdue, said that Mike hugged his daughter, Laney, tight to protect her as their plane plunged to the ground. That hug apparently saved his daughter's life, with the 11-year-old sustaining injuries from the crash.

"He hugged the best bear, and I'm sure he grabbed our daughter and protected her," Christina said. "It's his last memory before the accident."

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Dad Squeezed Her So Hard

Ryan Wojan, the family's friend, also believes that Mike protected his daughter in his last moments. Speaking with CNN, Wojan confirmed that the 11-year-old does not remember much about the Michigan plane crash, except that her dad "squeezed her so hard."

Laney, who is one of four kids, has undergone two surgeries since the crash, which happened on Saturday, November 13. Doctors from the McClaren Northern Michigan Hospital assured the family, however, that her injuries are not critical.

Though Laney survived, their community has been mourning the tragedy, which also killed couple Kate Leese and Adam Kendall and the pilot, Charlevoix County Sheriff Lieutenant William Church. His body has not yet been identified by the recovery team.

According to reports, Mike often flew to Beaver Island to regularly check on his properties and his daughter joined him because she was going to meet up with some friends for the weekend. Leese and Kendall, on the other hand, were on the small plane to take their two dogs to the veterinarian and they were also looking into opening a winery on the site. The dogs also didn't survive the crash.

Friends recalled that Mike was always a gentleman who had this positive aura about him. Friends and family of Leese and Kendall, on the other hand, said that the couple were just starting their lives together and have been excited to move to Beaver Island to set up their new business.

Coast Guard Responded

According to New York Daily News, members of the U.S. Coast Guard who were conducting training nearby saw the crash and proceeded to respond to the site. They were still able to airlift Mike and his daughter to the mainland. An update on Twitter indicated that the Coast Guard members were doing chest compressions on Laney as she was brought to the hospital.

Investigations about the Michigan plane crash are still underway, per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Island Air, the owner of the Britten-Norman BN-2A plane, has not made any comments about the crash. However, short trips to Beaver Island from the mainland via Charlevoix are done every day in good weather, according to the manager of the airport, Rachel Teague. She also said that there have been no recorded fatalities on this route before the accident involving the Perdues and the couple.

Related Article: Quick-Thinking 9-Year-Old Girl Saves Her Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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