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“This was a miracle.”
A father and daughter were miraculously found alive after crashing their plane — and it’s all thanks to the teen’s iPad.
Rescuers managed to find the duo deep in a freezing Pennsylvania forest on Sunday night by tracking pings from her device right to the exact crash site.
Their single-engine Cessna 150 had taken off from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport just before 8:30 PM, but had disappeared from radar “after a rapid descent” somewhere over Bear Creek Township shortly afterward.
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The 58-year-old pilot and his 13-year-old daughter were the only people on board.
The U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center identified the general area the aircraft might have crashed, as Pennsylvania State Police began a five-hour search and rescue operation in the pitch dark through challenging terrain.
But by following the GPS pings, they were able to make a beeline right to the very spot where they found the father and daughter, huddled together, suffering from hypothermia — but alive.
“With the help of the United States Air Force, they were able to track a better location on several pings, actually using the cellphone of the pilot, and his daughter’s iPad,” Sgt. John Richards told NBC News. “And the iPad actually led us right to the crash site.”
“The daughter saves both of them by using her iPad. The dad was cuddling her to give her warmth, because they were both exposed to the elements and were suffering from hypothermia at the time.”
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One rescuer told the outlet the chances of finding anyone alive — let alone everyone — was “very slim.”
“This was a miracle. Those two individuals are very lucky,” he said.
“You’re dealing with the woods, the swamps, the hills, rocks, boulders, I mean you’re dealing with all kids of terrain up here.”
Temperatures in the area had dropped as low as 37 degrees overnight; the pair were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries, but both are expected to survive.
According to Sgt. Richards, in his 28-year career with the Pennsylvania State Police, it is the first airplane crash site he has ever come across with survivors.
Both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of the crash; an initial report will be ready within a week, but the full report could take up to one year to complete.
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