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Father of Kansas plane crash survivor speaks

Associated Press Modified: May 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm •  Published: May 13, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Ron Luce didn't recognize the voice of the woman who phoned Friday to say his daughter Hannah was with her, and was fine.

Her words didn't make any sense to the Texas minister and founder of a Christian organization that reaches out to troubled youths. How could Hannah be with this woman when she was on a plane, headed to a Christian youth rally in Iowa?

"The way I discovered about my daughter and the plane accident was probably the most unscripted way you could imagine," Luce said Sunday during a news conference at University of Kansas Hospital, where his 22-year-old daughter was in serious condition with burns over 28 percent of her body. "I asked (the woman), 'Where's the plane?' She said it's off in the distance, and there are flames, there's smoke."

Hannah Luce is the only one of five people who survived when a twin-engine Cessna 401 crashed Friday afternoon northwest of Chanute. Three died at the scene, and a fourth, who Luce said helped his daughter walk from the wreckage to a nearby road, died early Saturday morning at a hospital in Wichita.

All five were on their way from Tulsa, Okla., to an Acquire the Fire rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was the last of 33 such events this year held across the U.S. by Teen Mania Ministries, which Luce said he created 25 years ago to reach out to troubled youths. The ministry is based in Garden Valley, Texas, where the Luce family lives.

"There could be no prouder parents than the parents of the four remarkable young men who were killed," Luce said.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victims as pilot Luke Sheets, 23, of Ephraim, Wis.; Austin Anderson, 27, of Ringwood, Okla.; Garrett Coble, 29, of Tulsa, Okla.; and Stephen Luth, 22, of Muscatine, Iowa.

Anderson, a former Marine who had served two tours of duty in Iraq before going to Oral Roberts University, and Luth had recently been hired to the Teen Mania marketing staff.

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