Homeowner: Plane crash survivor was 'bravest kid I've ever seen'

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- The 71-year-old homeowner who answered the door of his home to find a 7-year-old plane crash survivor says she was the bravest child he’s ever met.

Sailor Gutzler pulled herself through the wreckage, walked a mile through cold, dark woods to the man’s home and then helped authorities locate the wreckage and remains of her family. 

The family had flown from Florida and Sailor was dressed only in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt and one sock when she arrived at Larry Wilkins’ home.

Wilkins said the child was crying and covered in blood but told him what was happening right away.

"She told me that her mom and dad were dead, and she had been in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down," Wilkins said.

Sailor was able to point emergency workers in the right direction to find the plane.

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The crash killed Sailor's parents, Marty Gutzler, 48; and his wife, Kimberly Gutzler, 46; Sailor's sister, Piper Gutzler, 9; and a cousin, Sierra Wilder, 14. All were from Nashville, Illinois.

Marty Gutzler was flying the plane, which reported engine trouble and lost contact with air traffic controllers around 5:55 p.m. CST, authorities said. Controllers tried to direct the pilot to an airport 5 to 7 miles from the crash scene.

About 40 minutes later, 911 dispatchers received the call from Wilkins.

The Gutzlers had been visiting family in Key West, Florida, and stopped in Tallahassee, Florida, on the way back to Mount Vernon, Illinois.
Gutzler was a licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor, according to the FAA website.

AP contributed to this report.

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