11-Year-Old Girl Survives Deadly Plane Crash Thanks to Her Father's Last Embrace

Ayesha Muhammad
Nov 18, 2021
12:40 P.M.

A young girl was on a commuter plane with her dad and three other people when it crashed on Beaver Island, Michigan. She was the sole survivor of the crash, suffering several broken bones and having to undergo surgery.


Jeopardizing your own life to save the one you care about is an act of sheer selflessness and bravery. However, some people will risk everything to protect their loved ones, including parents going out of their way to safeguard their children's lives.

A loving father did the same for his little princess when he realized that their aircraft was about to crash, thus saving her life with his warm embrace.

[Left] Mike Perdue pictured with his daughter, Laney Perdue. [Right] A picture of Adam Kendall and Kate Leese. | Photo: twitter.com/ladbible

[Left] Mike Perdue pictured with his daughter, Laney Perdue. [Right] A picture of Adam Kendall and Kate Leese. | Photo: twitter.com/ladbible


Mike Perdue worked as a realtor in Gaylord, Michigan, where he resided with his wife, Christina Perdue, two young sons, and two daughters.

He was on a commuter plane with his 11-year-old daughter, Laney Perdue, and three other people (including the pilot) when the flight took off from Charlevoix, Michigan, at 1:32 pm last Saturday.


Unfortunately, the doomed Island Airways aircraft crashed only 15 minutes after take-off while approaching the Welke Airport on Beaver Island, as per a statement issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


A Coast Guard helicopter crew was training nearby when they received an emergency alarm from the island. They immediately airlifted Laney, who had suffered severe injuries, and another male adult, who initially survived the crash.


They had plans to open a vineyard on the island in Lake Michigan and often documented their cross-country travel diaries on their Instagram account @lifewithoutwaiting.

However, the male victim succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead at the hospital. Laney was given chest compressions on her way to the children's hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



The 11-year-old girl was the sole survivor of the crash, and her mother believed that her father's last hug had saved her. Talking to ABC News, her mother, Christina Perdue, said:

He [Mike] gave the best bear hugs, and I believe he grabbed our daughter and protected her."

Christina explained that her daughter's last memory of her dad was him hugging her very tightly. She also said that Laney suffered injuries only on one side of her body, and her dad's bear hug protected the other side.



Laney underwent surgery in which a pin was inserted into her left foot, and her jaw was wired to allow for healing and alignment. Moreover, she suffered severe injuries and multiple broken bones in her body.

A close family friend, Dana Bensinger, has set up a GoFundMe to support and uplift the Perdue family. Bensinger also shared that Laney is slowly making progress but has a long road to recovery.

She recalled Mike being a beloved father who loved baseball, hockey, and taking trips to Beaver Island. So far, $111,485 has been raised from the $150,000 goal.



The fatal crash also killed 35-year-old Kate Leese and 37-year-old Adam Kendall, who were on the plane with their two dogs. After years of traveling, Leese, a biochemist, and Kendall, and attorney had recently settled in Beaver Island.

They had plans to open a vineyard on the island in Lake Michigan and often documented their cross-country travel diaries on their Instagram account @lifewithoutwaiting.

The last picture they shared showed them standing outside a trailer with their two dogs, Frank and Barker. The cause of the tragic plane crash is still unknown. However, the case is currently under investigation.


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