Treharne - 3 year old in crash
CORPUS CHRISTI TIMES, Â·i.. Dec. 14,1977 9A Last act may have saved life of child By RICK SCOTT KERRVILLE, Texas (AP) -- A dying father's last act of love, moments after his airplane crashed into a brushy ridgetop in the rugged Texas hill country, may have saved his 3-year- old daughter's life, officials say. Shara Sneed/trapped for 35 Hours in the wreckage of the small plane, was rescued yesterday yesterday morning by searchers who said they found her "mumbling and groaning." Her father, Gerald Wayne Sneed, a 33-year-old San Antonio lawyer who was piloting the single- engine airplane, was killed along with his wife, Susan Parr Sneed, and their 5-year-old son, Shannon. Rescuers unstrapped Shera froni the back seat of the plane, which had crashed Sunday night on an 1,800-foot hill about three miles"from the Kerrville Kerrville Municipal Airport, about 65 miles northwest northwest of San Antonio. A hospital spokesman said Shera was in stable condition in intensive care yesterday evening, suffering frqm a fractured leg and arm. . "Shera was just mumbling and groaning when we got there," said Dan Waters, president of the First Texas Flying Service in KerrvHIe and a family friend. "It was nothing you could understand. understand. She had a few abrasions but other than that, she looked pretty good." Major Anne Farrell, Civil Air Patrol search project coordinator, said the back seat of the airplane apparently loosened and slid foward on impact, jamming partially under the front seat. It appeared, she said, that Sneed tried to drape himself over his daughter to protect her from the 28-degree nighttime, a gesture "which undoubtedly undoubtedly helped her survive the elements." Major Farrell said the plane did not burn and that "the wreckage wasn't so bad. But the plane hit hard." The wreckage was spotted yesterday morning by a plane flown by Jim Thompson, co-owner with Sneed of the wrecked aircraft. A helicopter airlifted the little-girl off the hilltop. . She told departing searchers yesterday afternoon afternoon that, "Looking at that wreckage, it looks like the boy and the father might have lived, certainly for a few hours. "But the weather was so bad, we just couldn't find them and get to them," she added. The plane crashed Sunday night during a persistent persistent drizzle. Air traffic Controllers in San Antonio Antonio had received a radio signal from the plane reporting it was low on fuel and was attempting to reach the Kerrville airport. The family almost made it. Major Farrell, Thompson 'and others at the crash site said the aircraft needed only about another 20 feet of altitude to clear the ridge as.it approached the airstrip. Spencer Treharne, also of the First Texas Flying Flying Service, said Sneed was "an excellent pilot" who knew the Kerrville airport. First Texas Flying Service put five airplanes on the search and worked independently of the Civil Air Patrol, Treharne said. A thick, low overcast kept searchers out of the air until yesterday morning when the skies cleared. Thompson and Waters "re-enacted" the route that Sneed was following and found the Sneed plane "just about where we thought it would be," Thompson said. "It looked like they just ran out of fuel before getting over the ridge. It would have been dowyihitl from there." The crash site was about three miles northeast of the airport. The plane was on a flight from Winters, Tex., where Sneed's parents live. The family lived in Boerne, a rural community about 25 miles northwest northwest of Sun Antonio. Justice of the Peace Spencer Brown said Sneed's body was in the pilot's seat. Mrs. Sneed was in the seat next to him. The son and daughter were in the back seats of the four-place aircraft. Officials of the Federal Aviation Administration Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were probing the plane's wreckage yes- tcrday evening for further clues to the mishap.