'Hey, I just crashed my plane': Billings girl tells of surviving plane crash

By Eddie Gregg

The Billings Gazette

Published: Thursday, Aug. 22 2013 12:09 p.m. MDT

"Ms. Morgan was one lucky young lady," said Park County Deputy Hayes Randol. "If it had not been for these two hunters being in the right place at the right time, she may still be out there. We're all extremely relieved that this potentially tragic situation had the best possible outcome."

Emergency crews checked out Morgan for minor injuries and took her to West Park Hospital in Cody as a precaution.

Kristie Salzmann, Shoshone National Forest spokeswoman, said that an airplane crew fighting the nearby Hardluck Fire, also burning in the Shoshone, planned to fly over the crash area later on Wednesday to get a better idea of exactly where the plane is.

Whether or not, and how, the plane will be removed will be up to the insurance company covering the crash, Salzmann said.

McKenzie said she feels lucky to be alive — and she plans on getting right back in the pilot's seat as soon as possible so she can get her pilot's license.

"I love it," she said of flying. "(You) can't let one really bad occurrence tear you down."

Morgan said she wasn't sure about what flight restrictions she might face, if any. Wednesday, she worked with Federal Aviation Association officials on the crash report.

"It was scary," Morgan's mother, Kristy, said of finding out that her daughter was missing while on a training flight. "You're blind and you can't do anything. We were really trying to stay positive."

But Morgan is savvy, smart, capable and makes good decisions, Kristy said. "We had hope and faith that she would be OK," she said. "We're proud of her for pulling out of that."

For her part, Morgan said surviving the crash has changed her outlook on life.

"Everybody has been saying 'God has to have a plan for you.' My faith is definitely stronger, for sure," she said. "I don't know, I'm looking forward to the future. Definitely not dreading high school as much. Something's got to happen."

Information from: Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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