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Crash survivor's mother: 'Miraculous'

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  • NEW: Girl, 13, was disoriented when found under wing, mother says
  • NEW: Lack of major injuries "seems incredible," mother says
  • NEW: Rescuers carried girl 3.5 hours over mountains in heavy rain
  • Girl was only survivor in Panama crash that killed three
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PANAMA CITY, Panama (CNN) -- The sole survivor of a plane crash that killed two Americans and a Panamanian pilot was awake and talking Wednesday, a doctor said.

Francesca Lewis, 13, apparently fell out of the plane or was ejected on impact, her mother, Valerie Lewis, told CNN on Wednesday.

The girl endured two days in the rugged mountains of Panama, in frigid temperatures and heavy rain, before rescuers stumbled upon her in the wreckage on Christmas Day.

"She's doing all right," Valerie Lewis said. "She is having tests done at the hospital right now, and so far things seem good -- kind of miraculous.

"The fact that she so far doesn't seem to have any major damage seems incredible."

Dr. Alexander Quidano at the Mae Lewis Medical Center in Boquete, Panama, said Francesca was in stable condition, awake and speaking.

She was being treated for a fractured arm and several cuts, but tests, including a CAT scan, were under way to make sure nothing else was wrong, Quidano said.

Francesca apparently was disoriented when her rescuers saw her under a wing of the wrecked plane, her mother said. She thought she was at home and wondered why an airplane wing was in her house, her mother said.

Rescuers carried the girl on a stretcher for three and a half hours in torrential rain over rugged terrain to a helicopter.

"We're so relieved to have her with us," her mother said.

The small plane disappeared Sunday in a mountainous area of Panama.

Authorities found the bodies of pilot Edwin Lasso, American businessman Michael Klein and Klein's 13-year-old daughter, Talia, about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the Web site of Panama's civil protection agency.

Francesca and Talia were friends. Video Watch latest from school the girls attended »

Rescuers planned to retrieve the three bodies Wednesday, said Thomas Mesa, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.

Klein, a 37-year-old hedge fund manager, was vacationing with the two girls when they took the flight Sunday to photograph a volcano in Chiriqui province, about 285 miles west of Panama City.

Authorities think the small single-engine Cessna ran into bad weather. Radio contact with the flight was lost about noon Sunday.

Authorities and hundreds of volunteers spent the last two days searching the dense jungles and mountainous terrain, but heavy rain in the area had hampered recovery efforts.

"I just want to thank all of the people that cared so much about trying to help us," Valerie Lewis said. "So many people tried to help, and at great effort and sacrifice, and through the Christmas holiday.

"I mean, the most important family holiday, people were giving up that to go and trudge through the mud. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We really appreciate everything that was done."


Klein was president and CEO of eGroups Inc. in 1999 and 2000, when Yahoo! acquired the company, merging it with its own e-mail services and changing its name to Yahoo! Groups, which now serves more than 100 million users worldwide.

"My heart goes out to everyone," Valerie Lewis said. "We all have been through a tremendous trauma together." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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