Published On: Sat, Jul 18th, 2015

Miracle plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch home as wreckage, Bowman bodies found

Two bodies have been recovered from wreckage matching the description of a crashed plane at the center of a teenage girl’s dramatic survival story in Washington, officials said.

Autumn Veatch, 16, walked for two days through the wilderness after surviving the Beech A-35 plane crash, which was carrying the teen and her step-grandparents. Officials have been searching for her step-grandparents, Leland and Sharon Bowman, and the wreckage.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that wreckage matching Veatch’s plane had been found around one mile north of State Route 20 in the Rainy Pass area, about 100 miles from Seattle.

The two bodies of the Bowmans were recovered from the wreckage, the statement added.
Autumn Veatch photo/ screenshot from interview

Autumn Veatch photo/ screenshot from interview

“The terrain was extremely rugged and vertical,” the sheriff’s office said. “The wreckage was extensively burned and was in fact still smoldering and flaring up when searchers arrived.”

Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service were called to deal with a small bush fire caused by the crash, according to the statement. The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office said it had completed its investigation and was turning the incident over to the NTSB.

According to officials, Veatch told them that the plane crashed into steep woodland terrain after encountering thick fog flying from Montana to Washington.

Autumn told authorities that she was unable to reach her family members, who were trapped inside the burning wreckage and watched them die.

Autumn said she had “a sudden boost of motivation” to keep moving through the forest and find civilization.

“I was just like, no. I’m not going to die, I’m not going to die. I can’t do this. I can’t do this to anybody. I can’t do this to my loved ones. I can’t do this to myself, and I started moving for the rest of the day,” the girl recounted in an interview posted by the Bellingham Herald.

Veatch walked through the wilderness until she found a road and was picked up.
“I was thinking I was going to die, and I was going to die at 16 years old without doing anything really important with myself,” Autumn said. “There was a lot of crying, that’s probably part of what dehydrated me, was I was crying for probably the entire day and blaming myself for their deaths, because they’re the ones that wanted to fly me and they didn’t deserve anything like that to happen to them. I love them a lot.”

She left hospital having only suffered cuts, bruises and burns.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Lustick of the Civil Air Patrol told reporters: “It’s a miracle, no question about it,” adding that he had spent 30 years in search and rescue. “Moments of joy like this can be hard to find.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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