Sheriff: Girl who survived plane crash found by motorist

SEATTLE (AP) – A driver picked up a teenage girl who survived a small plane crash in a mountainous area in Washington state, authorities said.

Crews had been searching for the plane with three aboard after it failed to reach its destination. Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Monday afternoon that the girl managed to walk to a trailhead, where she was picked up by a motorist and brought to a store in Mazama, Washington.

The girl had been “walking for a couple of days,” Rogers said. She was being taken to a local hospital and she seemed to be in stable condition, he said. Rogers wouldn’t comment on the status of the other two people aboard the plane.

Officials had identified those aboard as Leland and Sharon Bowman of Marion, Montana, and their 16-year-old step-granddaughter, Autumn Veatch, of Bellingham, Washington.

“We’re not going into the status of the grandparents. She was the only one who walked out,” Rogers told The Associated Press. “She just said they came out of the clouds, and it crashed.”

The Beech A-35 left Kalispell, Montana, about 1 p.m. PDT Saturday, headed for Lynden, Washington. Family members notified authorities when the plane did not arrive.

Five aircraft had been flying over a rugged, mountainous area of Washington state on Monday, searching for the small, private plane.

The plane crossed the Idaho-Washington border about 2:20 p.m. PDT Saturday, but it dropped off the radar near Omak, Washington, about an hour later, transportation officials said.

The last phone signal from one of the plane’s occupants was detected around 3:50 p.m.

The search Monday had focused on an area south of Mount Baker and northeast of Seattle.

The Civil Air Patrol’s Cell Phone Forensics and Radar Analysis teams were analyzing clues left by the phones that were on board.

Five aircraft equipped with special radios for detecting the missing plane’s emergency-locator transmitter searched the mountains while ground crews focused on areas between Mazama, Washington, and the Rainy Pass area, officials said.

“These grids contain some of the toughest mountainous terrain in the state,” Civil Air Patrol spokeswoman Julie DeBardelaben said.

Rain early Monday slowed efforts, but clearing skies in the afternoon were expected to help with the search.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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