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11-year-old girl survives Michigan plane crash that killed her father, 3 others

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Posted at 2:14 PM, Nov 14, 2021

An 11-year-old girl is the only survivor of a small commuter plane crash on an island in Lake Michigan that claimed the lives of her father and three other people, authorities said.

The crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday at Welke Airport on Beaver Island in the far northern part of Lake Michigan just below the Upper Peninsula, Lt. William Church of the Charlevoix County, Michigan, Sheriff's Office told ABC News on Sunday.

The twin-engine Britton-Norman BN-2 aircraft crashed on landing at the airport after departing from Charlevoix, Michigan, about 32 miles away, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

A helicopter crew from the Coast Guard Great Lakes was training in the area at the time and responded to an emergency call from the island. It then flew the critically injured child and a male adult, who initially survived the crash, to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, Coast Guard officials said.

The sheriff's office said the male victim was pronounced dead at the hospital, Coast Guard officials said.

The Coast Guard Great Lakes said in a tweet that the helicopter crew performed "chest compressions" on the girl en route to the hospital.

Church said the girl remained in the hospital on Sunday but said he had no information on the child's condition.

Church confirmed that the injured child's father, who he identified as Mike Perdue, a realtor from Gaylord, Michigan, was among those killed in the crash.

Perdue's wife, Christina Perdue, said her husband hugged his 11-year-old daughter, Laney, as the plane went down.

"We are heartbroken with the loss of my husband, a father, brother, son and friend. He gave the best bear hugs, and I believe he grabbed our daughter and protected her. It's her last memory before the crash," Christina Perdue said in a statement Sunday. "Laney, our daughter, is stable and receiving care at a children's hospital in Grand Rapids. Our prayers are also with our island community and the other souls lost in the accident."

Church also identified a couple killed in the incident as Kate Leese and Adam Kendall.

The name of the pilot who died was being withheld by the sheriff's office, pending notification of relatives, Church said.

The Petoskey News-Review reported that Leese and Kendall were new residents of Beaver Island and were planning to plant a vineyard there.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board.