July 14, 2015 / 6:13 AM / 2 years ago

Teen plane crash survivor hiked days to safety in Washington state

REUTERS - A teenage girl who survived a plane crash in Washington state’s rugged Cascade Mountains found her way to safety by walking for two days through the forest until she was able to flag down help, the Seattle Times reported on Monday.

Autumn Veatch, 16, had been flying with her step-grandparents from Montana to Washington on Saturday when the plane went down in the rocky, remote area, the newspaper reported, quoting transportation officials.

The teenager told authorities she survived the impact and tried to pull her step-grandparents out of the fuselage but was unsuccessful, the Seattle Times reported.

Veatch, who attends high school in Washington state and had little outdoor training, waited at the wreckage scene before deciding to try and hike out of the rugged terrain to seek help, a family friend told the newspaper.

She followed drainage to a river, which eventually led to a trail, and then to a state highway, the newspaper said.

Hikers gave her a ride to a nearby store where she was met by medics.

She had not had anything to eat in three days, the Seattle Times said, quoting a first responder. She was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries but was suffering from dehydration and exposure to the elements.

Authorities were still looking for the wreckage of the small plane. The fate of her step-grandparents was not clear.

Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Editing by Paul Tait

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