Car Seat Saves Toddler In Plane Crash

A 3-year-old girl found alive in the upside-down wreckage of an airplane survived because she was strapped in a car seat, rescuers said. They said they knew she was OK when she cried for her teddy bear.

Sunday's crash killed Kate Williams' pilot-grandfather, Allen D. Williams, 65, and another passenger, authorities said.

The plane was found nose down and flipped over in the icy water at the edge of a riverbank in the rugged mountains of southeast British Columbia.

"What saved her life was being strapped into that car seat," said Mike Plonka, a member of Golden's search-and-rescue team. "You could see that she was very scared. Her big concern at the time was her little teddy bear. She didn't want to leave without it. ...

"She was just pointing at it and calling it 'Baby,"' he said Monday.

The girl suffered head injuries but was listed as stable, hospital officials in Golden said. She was reunited with her parents.

Police said the Cessna 172 was on its way to Edmonton when it took off from Golden around 1 p.m. Sunday into low clouds and snow. Visibility was poor.

An hour later, the Search and Rescue Centre in Victoria picked up the plane's emergency transmitter signal from somewhere near the Blaeberry River.

A team using a hand-held beacon locator found the wreckage, and two military search and rescue technicians - Sgt. Scott Elliston and Master Cpl. Bruno Lapointe - landed nearby in a helicopter.

As they checked for survivors, they discovered the girl alive but surrounded by debris in the back of the plane. The two soldiers tried to remove her from the wreckage, but she made it clear she didn't want to leave without her teddy bear.

"I got her out and I handed her to Bruno. She was calling out for her teddy bear. I picked up the teddy bear to give it to her but it was covered in snow. She wasn't too happy that it was covered in snow so I brushed it off," Elliston said.

Williams was CEO and founder of Edmonton-based A.D. Williams Engineering Inc. The passenger who was killed, Steven T. Sutton, was chief financial officer. The two had been attending a business retreat in Golden.

The cause of the accident was under investigation.