11-year-old girl who solely survived plane crash due to late dad cradling her speaks out
"I'm alive because of him."
An 11-year-old girl who survived a plane crash that killed four people, including her father, has spoken out about her dad spending his final moments saving her.
Back on Saturday, November 13, 2021, Laney Perdue became the sole survivor of the horrific crash that killed her dad Mike, two other passengers, the pilot and two dogs near Beaver Island, Michigan, USA.
Loved ones at the time the girl was recovering in hospital said the last thing she remembered was her dad lovingly protecting her.
Now, Laney herself is sharing her experience.
Speaking to People, she told how the pair had been on board the 20-minute flight to Beaver Island as she was going to visit a friend while her dad went on a hunting trip with friends.
Just three miles from the landing spot, the plane went down.
Laney's last memory prior to the crash was looking out "one of those little windows and seeing the grass and feeling my dad's arm around me".
"I felt this feeling in my stomach like the plane just dropped, and my dad had his feet out like he was bracing for something," she told the magazine.
"The last thing I remember is my dad giving me the tightest hug ever. I'm alive because of him."
The crash killed Mike, 43, married couple Kate Leese, 35 and Adam Kendall, 37, and pilot William Julian, 55.
Laney was left with 11 broken bones and injuries to her lip and mouth.
The first responders who pulled her from the wreckage said her dad's bear hug shielded her from the impact of the crash, while a family friend added that all of her injuries were on the opposite side of where Mike had been sitting.
When her mum, Christie, arrived at Laney's side in hospital, she realised she had to be the one to break the devastating news to her daughter.
"I was like, 'Hey, Mom, where's Dad?'" Laney said. "I was freaking out because I didn't know there had been a crash. It was scary.
"I wanted to make sure he was okay, I kind of knew he had passed, but I wasn't sure," she added. "I just broke down crying."
The young girl decided to honour her dad by walking behind the casket at his funeral, even after enduring surgeries to her jaw and foot.
Laney, her mother, and the couple's other three children – daughter Addie, 8, and twin boys Henrik and Bo, 2 – will always remember Mike as the heroic father he was.
"Every day he would wake up and be like, 'You guys are beautiful. You guys are special,'" Laney said. "He was amazing."
Christie added: "Years ago, he said, 'Promise me if something ever happens to me, you keep coming to the island with the kids.' It's the greatest tragedy and the greatest joy. We lost Mike, but we kept Laney."
"I'm so sad, but I know Dad would want us to be okay," Laney concluded. "He would want us to live."