On the evening of January 2nd 2015, just after night fall, Sailor ( 7 years old) and her parents, Marty and Kimberly Gutzler, were flying back from Florida on a small Piper PA-34 plane. Accompanying them were Sailor’s elder, 9 year old sister, and a 14 year old cousin, Sierra Wilder.
At approximately 5:55pm, a report came from the plane, explaining that engine trouble was being experienced. Immediately thereafter, contact was lost with the air traffic controllers, who had been attempting to guide the plane to a nearby airport. Approximately 40 minutes later, a small knock came at the door of 71 year old Larry Wilkins. When he opened the door, there stood little Sailor Gutzler.
Bleeding, in pain, and having discovered the fact that her parents were dead, Sailor after trying to wake up her family members walked away from the wreckage on a very cold night, in the dark, and through the woods to find help.
Sailor Gutzler used survival skills passed onto her by her dad as she trekked three-quarters of a mile through extremely thick briar patches, thick brush, and over two embankments – a creek bed, as well as a hill with broken bones looking for help. The temperature were just under 40 degrees, and little Sailor was only wearing a shirt with short sleeves, a pair of shorts, and one sock – no shoes. She had been dressed appropriately for Florida, where she had just left not for Kentucky where the plane had crashed.
At one point, Sailor even lit a tree branch from the plane’s burning wing in order to guide her through the dense woodland. Sobbing and bleeding badly from her face and legs, she even had to negotiate a 12-foot ditch in a creek bed.
Her will to live and her hope that she could acquire help for her family kept little Sailor going.
Despite the trauma of the plane wreck, the tragic loss of all onboard the small plane, and the extreme conditions in the environment, Sailor Gutzler pressed on, reaching deep, to her goal.
Sailor’s moving story is one of survival and persistence for someone so young. She is now being looked after by her grandparents