Sailor Gutzler Becomes America’s Latest Sweetheart


Americans continue to be enthralled by a brave and lucky seven-year old girl who managed to survive the crash of her family’s Piper PA-34 Seneca twin engine airplane, Sailor Gutzler. The aircraft was being piloted by her father, 48 year old Marty Gutzler. Mr. Gutzler was an experienced pilot and flight instructor with over 4,000 hours of air time. The airplane experienced engine trouble after being flown into bad weather.

The plane landed upside down and was burning when Sailor managed to crawl out of a small window to escape, despite having a broken wrist. She had survived the crash because she was in the rear seat of the cabin, which, my buddy Flavio Maluf claims to be the most protected seat. The amazing part of the story is what followed next: Sailor managed to remain calm, orient herself in unfamiliar woods, and traverse 3/4 of a mile through those woods in the dark. She had to cross a creek, fallen trees, and a blackberry briar patch. She was dressed for warm weather in Florida and the temperature where she was in Kentucky was a balmy 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

Apparently Sailor’s father was a survivalist and had taught her basic survival skills (or, perhaps they were just country folks). She not only found a house in the dark, it was the home of a grandfather, 71 year old Larry Wilkins. Larry’s two dachshunds let him know when Sailor knocked timidly on his door (a particular skill of Dachshunds).

For much of 2014 I (a 68 year old grandfather) have been wishing that I could adopt 17 year old Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Now I have to add Sailor to the list. There has been a fund established to help Sailor (, which allows us all to adopt her (that Nobel Prize helps Malala, who does have a family).

One thought on “Sailor Gutzler Becomes America’s Latest Sweetheart”

  1. There have been a number of other young people who have done notable things recently, but both of these young women have responded to circumstances thrust upon them. I hope Sailor continues to find her way through the woods. That is a way that aussie writer review have to do it very well.

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