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Family survives plane crash

A Northern Kentucky family is lucky to be alive after walking away from a plane crash in the mountains of Southwest Virginia.

The Lonneman family of Edgewood, Kentucky left a Cincinnati airport Saturday, headed to a wedding in South Carolina.

Their plane never made it, instead it crashed in a section of the Jefferson National Forest near Lebanon, Virginia.

Newsfirst talked with the Lonneman's son in law about their amazing story of survival.

From the pictures it looks as though no one should have survived this plane crash, but this family, the Lonneman's they did.

" First thing that happened, we got a phone call from Tara, that we had just had a plane crash, and the shock of that, initially you're like what?" said Brian Freking, the Lonneman's son in law.

On Saturday Robert and Cynthia Lonneman and their 25-year-old daughter Tara left Cincinnati in the single engine plane headed for a weekend wedding trip, but Brian Frecking says bad weather in Virginia over the Jefferson National forest interfered.

"They basically got to an area that was fogged in and lost all visibility, it happened quickly because you are coming over one mountain to the next." said Freking.

"They hit the side of the mountain, he had actually powered the airplane up and was trying to gain altitude." said Major Bill Watson of the Russell County Sheriff's Department.

The crash sheared off the plane's left wing.

Major Watson says he is amazed that the plane didn't catch fire when it hit the mountain, but what's even more amazing is how 25-year-old Tara Lonneman led rescuers to her family's downed plane.

"She got together a bag of just different articles of clothing and stuff that was in the plane and any items she could find. She headed towards emergency services leaving articles of clothing to make a trail." said Freking.

Tara, a marathon runner, walked nearly a mile and half, wearing a flip flop and a boot to meet rescue crews some three hours after crashing.

Her brother-in-law says he can't believe she made it, but she did and her parents are alive because of her quick thinking.

"It's an act of God they should have never walked away from the crash." said Freking.

The Lonneman's are home and recovering from minor injuries.

Cynthia Lonneman has a broken nose and required a night's stay in the hospital.


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