Things To Learn From A Four-Year-Old

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The rest of us could learn a lesson in air-crash survival from a couple of Minnesota tots. Three-year-old Lily Pearson and her big sister Grace, 4, defied monumental odds in surviving a plane crash that killed their mother Kathryn Pearson and uncle Charlie Erickson last Aug. 28. The Beechcraft twin piloted by Erickson went down in fog near Grand Marais, Minn. The girls were thrown from the plane. "They have no explanation as to how the girls survived," their father, Toby Pearson, told reporters in a news conference. But while sheer luck seems to have been a major factor, the girls themselves can claim some credit because they applied many of the same survival procedures drummed into student pilots. The older girl took charge of her sister and, after realizing the adults were dead, took steps to protect her. First, she kept them both away from the fire and the smoke. Then she found shelter in the remains of a seat and, right by the book (which neither could read) the pair waited by the wreck until help arrived about five hours later. "I protected her," said Grace. Their father said he called the reporters and camera crews into the hospital to say thanks to the rescuers and hospital personnel who helped save the girls. He was particularly appreciative of the actions of the unnamed rescue pilot who went looking for the downed plane in the fog. "It was nothing short of heroism," said Pearson. Grace is back home but Lily remains in the hospital undergoing skin-graft surgery and breathing with the aid of a tube.