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Mike Perdue, one of four people who died in a light-commuter plane crash near Beaver Island at the weekend, shielded his 11-year daughter who was the sole survivor of the crash.
“He cradled her in his arms,” Wojan said. “She doesn’t remember anything, except for her daddy squeezing her so hard.”
All of her injuries were on the opposite side of where her dad was sitting in the plane, said Wojan, who has been in close contact with Perdue’s wife since the accident.
Perdue’s wife “wanted to be sure that everyone knew who he was and how he gave his life for his daughter,” Wojan said. The couple has four children.
The girl, who remains hospitalized, suffered several fractures and has undergone two surgeries but none of her injuries are life-threatening, Wojan added.
Two of the deceased, Kate Leese and Adam Kendall, were taking their dogs to the vet in the plane, a family member told CNN. Both animals died in the crash, authorities said over the weekend.
Charlevoix County Sheriff Lieutenant William Church said the pilot was the fourth victim. He has not been identified.
Leese and Kendall had recently moved to Beaver Island, authorities said. They were working to establish a vineyard on the small Upper Michigan Island in the middle of Lake Michigan, according to posts on social media.
Amanda Danielle Leese, Kate’s sister, told CNN the couple was destined for great things.
“Kate and Adam were meant for each other. They lived 20 lives in the time they knew each other. Kate was larger than life,” Leese said. “She wanted to experience the world. She wanted to taste it. She wanted to explore it and Adam was right there with her.”
READ ALSO: Several killed as cargo plane crashes
Avid fishermen and hunters, Wojan and Perdue were meeting on Beaver Island for the opening day of firearm deer season. The girl was going to meet a family friend for the weekend, Wojan told CNN.
Wojan flew to Beaver Island three hours before the Perdues on the same plane.
Perdue was the managing broker and co-owner of Smith Realty Group, with Wojan.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Britton-Norman BN2P plane crashed around 2:30 p.m. ET.
The United States Coast Guard (USCG) was conducting a training flight in the area and responded after receiving an Emergency Locator Transmitter alert pinging them to the crash, according to a tweet from USCG Great Lakes.
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