Pilot to pilot: Witness tells of dad killing plane passengers

Image copyright Instagram Warning: This story contains disturbing images An 11-year-old girl has told how her father smothered her after they were rescued from a plane crash, and then, despite losing his grip, patted…

Pilot to pilot: Witness tells of dad killing plane passengers

Image copyright Instagram

Warning: This story contains disturbing images

An 11-year-old girl has told how her father smothered her after they were rescued from a plane crash, and then, despite losing his grip, patted her on the head to help her breathe.

Katina Whitehurst was travelling with her father, Chris, and brother Seth, when the Piper PA-46 Malibu crashed into a farmhouse in West Virginia in July.

Mr Whitehurst was killed and the pair survived the crash on 2 August, along with Katie’s mother, Teresa.

The fourth-grader’s memories were recounted in a documentary posted online by her teacher.

Katina spent three weeks recovering in hospital from shock and undergoing an emergency heart transplant.

She told the BBC: “My dad turned my mom over so my mom’s dad could play possum with me.

“I’m thinking she was trying to kill me to get me to let go of my dad but she didn’t and I just…

“I actually thought my dad was fine because he didn’t resist and he held my mum like she was a newborn baby.”

As they lay on the plane’s landing gear trying to breathe, their pilot radioed authorities and tried to bring down the plane.

But before they could touch down, it crashed into the farmhouse.

It happened about 200ft (60m) from the ground and before the firefighters could reach them, the four people on board had died.

Katina’s mother, then 29, had passed out.

“I remember when the helicopter came and lifted us up and that my mom was gone, that I didn’t know if she was OK,” she said.

“He sat down on the floor, he told me to go sit on my brother and that my dad was still there.”

The third plane involved in the accident, carrying four friends and a friend’s son, crashed minutes later, killing all five people on board.

Mr Whitehurst’s body was found a mile from the farm.

Katina says he held her, patting her on the head to help her breathe as she cried.

“My dad was hugging me and his arm was still in the air so he was still there,” she said.

“I didn’t want to move at that point but he was guiding me down to the ground and onto the ground, and telling me it was OK to go.”

Later, during a second operation, her heart was stopped.

“I was in the operating room for about an hour and a half,” she said.

“My heart started beating again. I remember the nurse saying, ‘Katina Whitehurst your heart started beating again’ and I just stared at her.”

Katina has been at school since August, working towards gaining her 1st grade diploma.

Her teacher, Jeff Ellenwood, screened the documentary with her.

“We were not hoping this story would be a good story,” he said.

“But it definitely seemed to go beyond what anyone would expect.

“This story seemed to almost be from another planet.”

Image copyright Instagram Image caption The plane was travelling towards Wichita, Kansas.

Following the crash, the pilot, Mark Hiltz, was also taken to hospital, suffering severe injuries.

He has since regained consciousness and told the BBC in July that he recalled feeling stinging like bees or bees in his ears after the accident.

Mr Whitehurst, who ran a chicken farm, was remembered as a caring, outgoing man who was also fiercely protective of his children.

Mr Hiltz is due to undergo surgery to have fragments of debris removed from his head,

“He’s a miracle man too,” Mr Ellenwood said.

“Without that man who was holding her, and he didn’t want to take off and put his hand over her because he didn’t want her to see the pilot losing control of the plane, it would have been over.”

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