KIRKSVILLE, Mo. -- Dr. John Krogh lay on his back in a patch of prickly brush, blinded by the flaming fuselage above him and transfixed by the waning screams of those trapped inside. He thought he was all alone.
"I didn't know anybody else had survived," said the 69-year-old from Wallsburgh, Utah. "I was sure that no one had."
In fact, one had -- his 44-year-old assistant, Wendy Bonham, of Spanish Fork, Utah. They were the only two people to live through Tuesday night's crash of a Corporate Airlines commuter plane, which went down in a wooded area as it tried to land in Kirksville.
Two crew members and 11 passengers died in the accident. Federal investigators remained at the scene Thursday, but they have yet to offer any details about a possible cause of the accident.
The last communication from the 19-seat Jetstream 32, a twin-engine turboprop, indicated a normal flight with no problems, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Both the air traffic control tapes revived by investigators and the plane's flight data recorders indicated the flight was making a normal approach to the airport before the crash, said Carol Carmody, a National Transportation Safety Board member.
The plane's pilot said he saw the "field in sight," according to the cockpit voice recorder; 13 seconds later there was a sound of impact. Three seconds later, the recording ends.
Carmody would not speculate on what role, if any, the weather may have played in the accident. A review of the plane's maintenance records, covering the past 30 days, didn't uncover any problems, she said.
Carmody called the survival of Krogh and Bonham "remarkable."
Krogh talked about the crash in lengthy telephone interview recorded Wednesday by Kirksville television station KTVO and shared with reporters.
As Krogh, a part-time faculty member at Provo College, lay on the ground after the crash, he saw a body tumble to the ground from the same aircraft doorway he had. It seemed to disappear among the flames. He later found out it was Bonham.
Just moments before, Krogh said, he was talking with passengers, setting his watch, and grabbing a mint. The landing gear was down and the plane seemed to be turning, preparing for its landing in this town of around 17,000. Then, Krogh felt some sort of impact -- a mild one at first, apparently the plane hitting treetops, then a series of jarring impacts.
"I just didn't believe that it was happening," he said.
A fire broke out in the rear of the plane, and blue-black smoke filled its body.
"I knew I had to get out of there," Krogh said.
He realized his left hip was broken, so he crawled to an opening. It was then he discovered the plane was stuck in the trees, about eight feet above the ground. Krogh flung himself out.
The plane was in flames, which raged on above. "He thought he'd burst from the flames," said his daughter, Janelle Vorkink.
Krogh dragged himself across the thorny bushes -- tearing his skin -- until he couldn't anymore.
Krogh and members of his family said bits of burning fragment rained from above, a series of explosions sounded and the plane's tires seemed to hiss.
"I thought to myself, 'I wonder if anybody even knows that we're down,"' he said.
Krogh's daughter was waiting at the terminal two miles away, with four of her children. She realized something was wrong before official word came.
"I started bawling," she said.
But then came news that at least two people had survived the crash. That gave Vorkink "this little glimmer of hope."
Krogh said it seemed like an eternity before he started to hear sirens in the distance and then, finally, voices. "Confirmed sighting of aircraft," he remembers hearing.
Bonham called out to rescuers for help, but Krogh's voice was so weak, he said no one could hear his soft cries of, "Over here." Once rescue workers finally came across him, he was carried across a field and through a ditch to a waiting ambulance.
It wasn't until he reached Northeast Regional Medical Center that he learned the woman beside him in the ambulance was Bonham, his assistant.
Those who've seen the pair since the crash said they're grappling with why they made it.
"They're struggling a bit emotionally," said Lee Vorkink.
Earlier in the day, the hospital had run through a disaster drill. Emergency room workers were ready to put it into play, but never got that call. All 13 others on board had died.
"It went from optimism to gloom," said Lee Vorkink, Krogh's son-in-law and a physical therapist at the hospital.
Among the dead was Mark Varidin, of St. Petersburg, Fla., who was traveling to his alma mater, the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, where many of the passengers of the flight planned to attend a medical conference. Varidin's nephew Anthony Delucia is a first-year student at the school.
"Everything I'm learning now about how to become a good physician," said Anthony Delucia, "he was the epitome of."
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