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Teen Survivor Walks Out Of Woods Two Days After Small Plane Crash

Family photo
File photo of Leland and Sharon Bowman and the missing Beech plane.

A sixteen-year-old girl from Bellingham, Washington, walked out of the woods Monday afternoon -- two days after surviving a small plane crash in the North Cascades.

Autumn Veatch was one of three family members on a single engine private plane that took off from Kalispell, Montana, Saturday afternoon bound for Lynden in northwest Washington. The plane disappeared off radar over north central Washington a few hours later.

Then nearly two full days after that, the teen survivor walked out of the North Cascades wilderness and flagged down a motorist on Highway 20. The Good Samaritan took Veatch to the country store in Mazama, the closest location with telephone service.

"Initial reports were that she had some injuries, but they were very minor,” Aero Methow Rescue Director of Services Cindy Button said. “She had a lot of exposure injuries and lot of minor injuries from hiking out over the course of the days."

Button said the teenager was transported to a hospital in Brewster, Washington, to be checked out and then reunited with her father.

"Autumn is ok!!" posted father David Veatch to his daughter's Facebook page.

Searchers will take to the air again Tuesday to try to locate the crash site and confirm the fate of the  other two people on board. The survivor's description significantly narrowed down the search area near the edge of North Cascades National Park.

The two others on the Beech 35 plane were its owner and pilot Leland Bowman, 62, and his wife Sharon, 63, of Marion, Montana. The Bowmans are Veatch's step-grandparents.

The girl reportedly told her parents and the Okanogan County Sheriff that her step-grandparents perished at the scene. That is according to a Facebook post by mother Misty Bowman and comments to reporters by Sheriff Frank Rodgers Monday evening.

Button said Veatch was able to provide a rough description of where the plane went down, which is somewhere in the vicinity of Easy Pass in the North Cascades.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.