Two of the youngest passengers of a plane that crashed in the mountains of Alaska recently described their experiences before and after the plane hit the ground.
On Jan. 2, a Wright Air Service commuter caravan was flying from Fairbanks to Anaktuvuk when it crashed about 6 miles from its final destination, KTUU reports. All eight people on the plane, including the pilot, were seriously injured and were flown to hospitals in Anchorage. No one was killed in the crash.
An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board plans to speak to everyone once they recover, as well as Cessna, the aircraft manufacturer.
Krystal Kakinya, a 13-year-old passenger, was onboard the plane with a friend, 15-year-old Courtney Mekiana, and a teacher from her school.
"We were so close to home and I just remember being half-awake, half-asleep ... and I was in shock," Krystal told KTUU.
"I was closing my eyes, holding on to the handles really tight," Courtney said. "We slid down 200 feet, it was a miracle because we stopped at the edge of a cliff."
Upon crashing, Courtney got out of the aircraft, followed by Krystal. Courtney said her first reaction was to help other survivors who were more severely injured. She had a shoulder injury, and Krystal had a concession and multiple bruises.
"We were looking through the boxes for napkins for those that were bleeding and we found some napkins on the back of the plane," Courtney said. "So we gave them napkins so they won't be bloody on their faces and all that."
Krystal's mother, Lena, recalled the fear she felt on hearing the news and then her relief once she saw her daughter again.
"It was the bestest feeling a mother could ever have," Lena said. "You don't ever want to be told your child was in a crash."
"We're all blessed to be alive," Courtney said. "There was one seat open in the co-pilot seat and I really think Jesus was sitting with us and I'm really blessed to be alive."
Steven Evak, a local search and rescue volunteer, echoed Courtney's sentiment.
"When planes go down, no one lives," Evak said. "I'm surprised these people even lived ... even in the mountains."