Alliance, NE Private Plane Crash, July 1957


Alliance, Neb. (AP) -- Complete recovery was predicted today for 17-year-old JUDY DIEHL, who endured 40 agonizing hours trapped in a crashed airplane with the bodies of her parents and a friend.
Dr. O. L. Seng said the Cozad, Neb., girl was in "fair condition" and "we expect complete recovery."
JUDY suffered a fracture of the upper left leg, possible fractures of the lower legs, lacerations and abrasions when a light plane crashed 25 miles south of Bingham, Neb., Friday night.
The girl's foot was caught under a seat and she was forced to remain in the plane until she sighted a search plane overhead and waved a white scarf yesterday.
"We were amazed to find someone alive," said DON CHRISTIANSEN, photographer of the Alliance (Neb.) Times-Herald, one of the first at the scene.
CHRISTIANSEN said the bodies of JUDY'S father MERRITT DIEHL, 45, and of the pilot, MILO GERMAN, 55, Cozad plastics plant operator, were in the front seat. JUDY'S mother CAROLYN, 45, was beside the girl in the rear of the plane.
JUDY, in "surprisingly good condition" when rescuers reached her, said she did not remember the plane crashing. She said that upon waking up "I knew the others were dead."
She had only a banana to eat during the long hours, but was able to use a belt buckle to open a canned beverage and to "catch some rain water" to drink.
"We flew over the site and spotted the plane near the top of a hill," CHRISTIANSEN said. "We couldn't believe anyone was alive, but then we saw someone waving from it with a white scarf."
The girl said they had taken off from the Alliance Airport Friday night and had run into a storm. They were heading back to Alliance when the plane crashed into the top of a hill.

Sheboygan Journal Wisconsin 1957-07-22