Laney Perdue, the 11-year-old sole survivor of a plane crash in northern Michigan Saturday, said the last thing she remembers before impact was her father’s embrace. 

The Island Airways flight took off from Charlevoix Municipal Airport at about 1:30 p.m., and crashed just 15 minutes later, near Welke Airport on Beaver Island, according to the Daily Mail

Authorities said four adults died in the horrific accident — Laney’s father Mike Perdue, passengers Kate Leese and Adam Kendall, and the pilot, whose name has not yet been released. 

Aviation officials are reportedly still investigating the cause of the crash. 

Laney Perdue Says Father’s Hug Saved Her

According to the Mail, a local U.S. Coast Guard helicopter team was conducting training exercises nearby when the plane went down Saturday. The crew airlifted Laney and Mike Perdue to a nearby hospital, while the other passengers were declared dead at the scene of the crash.

While her father reportedly succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital, Laney was given “chest compressions” during the airlift. She was later transferred to a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids, and was in stable condition on Sunday, her mother wrote on CaringBridge

Laney Perdue, 11, was the sole survivor in a plane crash over a Lake Michigan island Saturday that killed 4 adults, including her father. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Laney Perdue, 11, was the sole survivor in a plane crash over a Lake Michigan island Saturday that killed 4 adults, including her father. The cause of the accident is under investigation. Photo credit: Beaver Island Fire Department

In a statement to ABC News on Sunday, Laney Perdue’s mother Christina said the 11-year-old’s father hugged her just before the twin-engine Britten-Norman plane made impact. 

“It’s her last memory before the crash,” Christina said. “We are heartbroken with the loss of my husband, a father, brother, son and friend. He gave the best bear hugs, and I believe he grabbed our daughter and protected her.”

On the CaringBridge page, Christina said her daughter has undergone surgery on her left foot and jaw. 

“She is being a trooper and so strong,” she wrote. “There are many broken bones and injuries but most of them are ones that are going to heal on their own, another miracle!”

Laney Perdue, 11, said she survived the Beaver Island plane crash because her father, Mike Perdue, shielded her from the impact. Mike Perdue died while being airlifted to the hospital.
Laney Perdue, 11, said she survived the Beaver Island plane crash because her father, Mike Perdue, shielded her from the impact. Mike Perdue died while being airlifted to the hospital. Photo credit: GoFundMe

The family has set up a GoFundMe page to assist in funeral and medical costs in the aftermath of the terrifying accident. As of Monday, the page has raised about $58,000 of its $100,000 goal. 

According to the Mail, the Perdue family lives in Gaylord, some 40 miles from Charlevoix airport where their Island Airways flight took off. Mike Perdue reportedly worked as a real estate agent in the town. 

Couple Killed in Deadly Crash

The other named victims of the crash, 35-year-old Kate Leese and 37-year-old Adam Kendall, had reportedly just moved to Beaver Island and were in the process of opening a winery. 

“It feels like a place somewhere along the road where you could stop and have a glass of wine with new friends,” Leese told the Detroit News in an interview just one week before her death.  

“Our goal is to have that kind of place that brings people together.”

The couple, who had lived “nomadically” in their Airstream camper for years before settling on Beaver Island, were reportedly in the process of restoring an old barn to serve as their vineyard’s tasting room. 

Kate Leese, 35, and Adam Kendall, 37, were killed in Beaver Island, Michigan plane crash Saturday. The sole surviving passenger was 11-year-old Laney Perdue, whose father also died.
Kate Leese, 35, and Adam Kendall, 37, were killed in Beaver Island, Michigan plane crash Saturday. The sole surviving passenger was 11-year-old Laney Perdue, whose father also died. Photo credit: Instagram

Kendall told the News that he and Leese were attracted to Beaver Island’s remote location and rustic lifestyle. 

“Almost immediately after we pulled into the marina here, we knew this was the level of quiet we were looking for,” he said. “At night, there’s almost complete silence here. There’s no light pollution. […] It’s the kind of place we had been looking for as our next spot.”

On their shared Instagram account that documented their travels, Leese and Kendall posted a video from a flight over the island just three days before their deaths. 

“Flying (again!) to take the big dog back to his third vet appointment,” the couple wrote. “Crossing all the fingers and toes for better news.”