Michigan Girl, 11, Who Survived Plane Crash That Killed 4 Others Was Saved by Her Dad: 'He Cradled Her'

Mike Perdue saved his daughter Laney in his final moments as the plane they were traveling in crashed at Beaver Island, killing three passengers and the pilot

Mike Perdue
Mike Perdue. Photo: GoFundMe

The 11-year-old girl, who survived the horrific Nov. 13 plane crash near Michigan's Beaver Island, is alive because of her father — who died saving her.

Identified as Laney Perdue in a GoFundMe created for her family, the young child was shielded by her father, Mike Perdue, who was one of four people to die in the Saturday crash, according to Mike's friend, Ryan Wojan.

"He cradled her in his arms," Wojan told CNN. "She doesn't remember anything, except for her daddy squeezing her so hard."

Christina Perdue, Laney's mom, said in a statement shared with ABC that her daughter's final memory of the accident was her dad protecting her.

"It's her last memory before the crash," she said, adding, "We are heartbroken with the loss of my husband, a father, brother, son and friend. He gave the best bear hugs, and I believe he grabbed our daughter and protected her. Our prayers are also with our island community and the other souls lost in the accident."

Four people are dead following a plane crash on Beaver Island
Beaver Island Fire Department

Laney suffered "broken bones and injuries" in the crash, per the GoFundMe page. As of Sunday, Laney was in stable condition and being treated at a children's hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Christina said, per ABC 7.

Wojan told CNN that all of Laney's injuries occurred on the opposite side of where Mike had been seated on the plane. Wojan, who has been keeping in touch with Christina since the crash, added that she "wanted to be sure that everyone knew who [Mike] was and how he gave his life for his daughter."

Wojan worked with Mike at Smith Realty Group, where he was the managing broker and co-owner, according to CNN. Remembering his late friend, Wojan told the outlet, "He was always a giver... and was such an important part of the community."

The small town of Saint James and Paradise Bay on Beaver Island
AP Photo/Record-Eagle, Tyler Sipe

The crash occurred Saturday around 1:30 p.m. local time, PEOPLE previously reported. The pilot, plus three passengers — identified by the Petoskey News-Review as Mike, Kate Leese and Adam Kendall — all died in the crash. The pilot's identity has not yet been revealed to the public.

The accident took place when the twin-engine Britton-Norman BN-2 aircraft from Island Airways went down at the Welke Airport on Beaver Island, located in northern Lake Michigan, according to an Federal Aviation Administration statement shared with ABC, which also reports that the plane had been landing at the time of the crash, and had been flying in from nearby Charlevoix, Michigan.

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ABC reports that the crash is under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

When reached for comment by PEOPLE, the FAA and NTSB did not respond by time of publication.

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