David Veatch, father of Bellingham High student Autumn Veatch, 16, talks to the media at the Civil Air Patrol station at Bellingham International Airport in Bellingham, Wash., July 13, 2015. Autumn Veatch, who was on a private plane that never reached Lynden Saturday afternoon, was taken Monday to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster after she was picked up by a motorist who drove her to safety. At right is Autumn's friend Chelsey Clark.
Photo by Philip A. Dwyer/The Bellingham Herald/AP

Teen found alive days after plane crash in Washington wilderness


A teenage girl on board a small plane presumed to have crashed in northern Washington was found alive Monday after spending about 24 hours walking through wilderness, officials said.

Autumn Veatch, 16, was flying from Montana to Washington with her step-grandparents, Leland Bowman, 62, and his wife, Sharon Bowman, 63, when their small plane disappeared on Saturday afternoon.

Autumn was found on Monday by hikers near a trail into Cascades National Park, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office told NBC station KING of Seattle.

She was dehydrated and her legs were a little banged up, but was otherwise doing well, her father David Veatch told reporters Monday night.

Officials did not say what may have happened to the Bowmans.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Lustic, a spokesman for the Washington wing of the Civil Air Patrol, told NBC News that Autumn is thought to have remained at the crash site for a couple hours before making her way for help.

After finding the teen, the hikers took her to a general store in the central Washington town of Mazama, about 30 miles south of the Canadian border, her mother Misty Bowman said.

“She got to Highway 20 and waited for the first people to come by,” Rick Leduc, the store’s owner, told KING.

“It’s pretty miraculous that she was able to do as well as she did,” he said. “It’s pretty rugged country where she came out at — probably some of the harshest country in the North Cascades.”

David Veatch said he and his daughter were thankful they’d often watched wilderness survival shows together, even though his daughter didn’t love watching them.

He also paid tribute to Leland and Sharon Bowman.

“There’s no grandparents on my side so these people were really playing the part of grandparents to her, and that’s hitting [Autumn] really hard,” he said. “She’s had to deal with a lot of loss.”

Autumn’s mother, Misty Bowman, told NBC News that her 16-year-old daughter had been to visit her and that her in-laws were taking her home to Bellingham, a college town in northwest Washington.

Lustic said Autumn had been taken by ambulance to Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster. The hospital told NBC News that she was being treated for dehydration. It was not known whether she was kept overnight.

He also said Autumn hadn’t been able to pinpoint a crash location, and that the Civil Air Patrol — an arm of the U.S. Air Force — is focusing on two possible areas the plane could be.

This article first appeared on NBC News.com



Teen found alive days after plane crash in Washington wilderness