- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015
Girl, 7, survives Ky. plane crash that kills 4 in her family

KUTTAWA, Ky. (AP) - Bleeding and alone, 7-year-old Sailor Gutzler had just survived a plane crash that killed her family. She walked through about a mile of woods and thick briar patches, wearing a short-sleeve shirt, shorts and no shoes in near-freezing temperatures when she saw a light in the distance.

The beacon led her to Larry Wilkins’ home, police said, and she knocked on the door. Wilkins answered to find a thin, black-haired girl, whimpering and trembling.

“I come to the door and there’s a little girl, 7 years old, bloody nose, bloody arms, bloody legs, one sock, no shoes, crying,” Wilkins, 71, told The Associated Press on Saturday. “She told me that her mom and dad were dead, and she had been in a plane crash, and the plane was upside down.”

Federal Aviation Administration officials arrived at the crash scene Saturday to try to determine why the small Piper PA-34 crashed on Friday evening, killing four people, including the girl’s parents, Marty Gutzler, 48, and his wife, Kimberly Gutzler, 46, authorities said.

Also killed were Sailor’s sister Piper Gutzler, 9; and cousin Sierra Wilder, 14. All were from Nashville, Illinois. The bodies have been sent to Louisville for autopsies.

The plane reported engine trouble and lost contact with air traffic controllers around 5:55 p.m. CST, authorities said. Controllers had been trying to direct the pilot to an airport about 5 to 7 miles from the crash scene, authorities said.

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View of Ky. economy varies among political leaders

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The condition of Kentucky’s economy depends largely on which political leader happens to offer the prognosis - and maybe which part of the state is being assessed.

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blames the Obama administration for hard times in his home state’s eastern coal fields.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, meanwhile, trumpets a state economy in recovery, pointing to shrinking unemployment and growing business investments.

Kentucky’s unemployment rate sank to 6 percent last November, down from an 8.1 percent rate in November 2013. A state economist says the last time Kentucky had such a big decline in joblessness, Ronald Reagan was a month away from winning his second presidential term in 1984.

McConnell says federal regulators have “created a depression in my state” by trying to eliminate coal-fired generation.

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