(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) — The sole survivor of a small plane crash in Kansas is in stable but serious condition after she was reportedly pulled out of the burning aircraft by a passenger — an Iraq war veteran who later died from his injuries.
Hannah Luce, 22, is in a Kansas City hospital with burns covering 28 percent of her body after surviving the Friday crash that killed three of her friends and the young pilot.
“While we’re thankful for this miracle of Hanna, we are truly grieving with all these parents,” Hannah Luce’s father Ron Luce said.
Hannah and her three friends were aboard an eight-seater twin-engine Cessna 401 plane, heading to a Christian youth rally called Acquire the Fire, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The rally was held by Teen Mania Ministries, an organization founded by Hannah’s father.
But after taking off from an airport in Tulsa, Okla., something suddenly went wrong with the plane, which landed in a field and skidded around 200 feet before hitting several trees and bursting into flames.
The pilot, 23-year-old Luke Sheets, died at the scene, as did 29-year-old Garrett Coble, and 22-year-old Stephen Luth.
Austin Anderson, a 27-year-old former marine who completed two tours in Iraq, had just graduated from Oral Roberts University with Hannah on May 5. Anderson reportedly pulled Hannah out of the burning plane, and the two were able to walk to a nearby road for help.
Anderson later died in the hospital, suffering from burns over 90 percent of his body.
Ron Luce told ABC News’ Kansas City affiliate KMBC that he knew Anderson and that he is the type of man that would save someone in that situation.
“He served two tours in Iraq, and he was willing to give his life for his country,” he said. “He was willing to give his life for a friend. He was always willing to go that extra mile.”
Ron Luce said his daughter, who was working on her master’s degree in counseling psychology, “just began to tear up” when asked about Anderson pulling her from the wreckage.
Hannah is now in serious but stable condition at the University of Kansas Hospital, where on Monday she will undergo skin grafts for her burns.
“She said, ‘I have all these burns,” her father said. “Then she said, ‘but I’m here. I’m here.'”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire