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7-year-old girl who survived plane crash said she hoped her family were "just sleeping."

They were on their way home from a family holiday in Florida when tragedy struck. The small plane they were flying on was hit with engine trouble and it came down. A family of four and a 14-year-old relative on board.

Four of the five on the Piper PA-34 plane heading for the US state of Illinois died.

This awful story has one small shining light – a small girl, aged just seven, who miraculously managed to survive.

Her tale of courage and survival is making headlines right across the world.

According to the NY Daily News the plane carrying Kimberly and Marty Gutzler, their two daughters nine-year-old Piper and seven-year-old Sailor as well as their cousin Sierra Wilder, 14, crashed in a heavily wooded part of southwestern Kentucky.

Sailor, the only survivor, called out to her family as she tried to wake her mother and father, but no one responded.

Suffering a broken arm and many cuts and bruises, Sailor was alone. She told police that she thought her family might be knocked out, or possibly dead. She knew she knew she needed to get help.

So this amazing seven-year-old, bleeding and dressed in summer clothes – a short-sleeve shirt, shorts and one sock – walked more than a kilometre in near-freezing temperatures.

She finally saw a light and made her way toward it.

Inside a 71-year-old man was startled by his dog barking. He had just finished watching the evening news and was about to put his computer on when he heard a knock at his door.

CNN reports that Larry Wilkins answered to find a tiny girl, bleeding, with only one sock on. Trembling and crying.

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Larry Wilkins. 

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

He offered her a wash cloth to wipe away the blood and called the police.

Kentucky Police Lt. Brent White said it was absolutely amazing.

“She literally fell out of the sky into a dark hole and didn’t have anybody but her own will to live and get help for her family.”

He went on to say that Sailor said she had hoped her family were just sleeping.

“She indicated to us that she believed her family was deceased but that she hoped they were just sleeping.”

It seems that some tiny portion of luck was also on the side of Sailor, as Larry Wilkins is one of only three residents who occupies his home in the area in winter.

One local said, “Any other direction could have ended badly with the cold weather.”

Tragically this seven-year-old girl must now face life without her beloved mother, father and older sister.

A family representative said, “The Gutzler family mourns the loss of Marty, Kim and Piper Gutzler and Sierra Wilder. We are devastated by this loss, but are confident that they rest in God’s loving arms. We ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time. Please pray for us, especially for Sailor Gutzler.”

A fund has been set up for the benefit of Sailor Gutzler.