Teen Who Survived Plane Crash Tried to Save Grandparents
Autumn Veatch burned her hands trying in vain to pull grandfather out
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2015 7:45 PM CDT
In this July 13 photo provided by family friend Sara Esperance, Autumn Veatch poses at the Okanogan Douglas Hospital in Brewster, Wash., with her father, David Veatch.   (Autumn Veatch/Courtesy of Sara Esperance via AP)

(Newser) – The 16-year-old dubbed a "super hero" after surviving a plane crash in remote Washington state and then hiking to civilization is providing first-person accounts of her ordeal. Autumn Veatch tells NBC News that things first got scary during the flight from Montana to Washington when they hit bad weather. "Everything was white, like everything—all the windows—everything was white, and then suddenly it was just all trees, and then it was fire." The plane had gone down in trees, but Veatch was able to get out. Her grandparents, however, Leland and Sharon Bowman, 62 and 63, were trapped:

  • "I was trying to help them," she tells KING-TV. "I couldn't get to grandma at all. There was nothing I could have done to get to her, but grandpa, he pulled himself halfway out. And that's when I was going and I was reaching and was trying to pull him out."

It was in vain, however. "I just got burned really bad and I couldn't do anything. I just told them that I loved them and that it would be OK." Then came the next part of her survival: She hiked and hiked, spending two nights in the woods without food and fearing she'd die of hypothermia. She felt hopeless, but then "I just got this surge of willpower and was like there's no way I can die without hugging somebody again." Finally, on day three, she stumbled onto a trail in North Cascades National Park and met two hikers who guided her to safety, according to NBC's account. "I have such a newfound respect for life now," says Veatch. "Spending three days wishing nothing more than to just be alive and do the simple things ... every little thing makes me feel so incredibly grateful."