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Wreckage Found in Search for 'Miracle' Teen Autumn Veatch's Plane

Search teams said they found wreckage after a teenage girl survived a plane crash in Washington and walked 24 hours through the wilderness.

Search teams said late Tuesday they had found wreckage after a teenage girl survived a plane crash and walked for more than a day through the wilderness in Washington state.

Autumn Veatch, 16, and her step-grandparents were flying from Montana when she said their small aircraft crashed into densely forested hills while navigating in thick fog on Saturday.

Veatch told officials she was not able to help Leland Bowman, 62, and his wife, Sharon Bowman, 63, who were trapped in the burning wreckage.

The Washington State Department of Transportation said its crews had found wreckage near Mazama, north Washington, in the general area where Veatch said the plane came down.

They were not able to reach the crash site before the search ended for the night, nor identify the wreckage and the people inside, the department said in a statement.

Autumn Veatch recovering n hospital.Karen Lucht / NBC News

One of Veatch's friends, Sarah Esperance, told a press conference that the crash's only survivor was "doing well" but that her step-grandparents' side of the family was "going through a tremendous loss right now."

Another friend, Chelsey Clark, added that "it is a miracle what happened" and said Veatch's family and friends "never gave up hope."

"We just felt like she was still with us," Clark said of her friend's time in the wilderness. "It's traumatizing what she went through. She's 16, and [for] anybody at that's absolutely amazing to see her in good spirits."

Chelsey Clark, left, and Sara Esperance, talk to reporters at the entrance of the Okanogan Douglas Hospital in Brewster, Washington, on Tuesday.Richard Dickin / AP

Dr. James Wallace told the same press conference that it was Veatch's "innate knowledge, wisdom to pick the right path out and really to do everything right in an environment that was very foreign to her."

He added: "She did it all right and all the pieces came together to support her to getting here and getting well."

Veatch was sent home Tuesday night having cuts, burns and dehydration.

According to officials who spoke to The Associated Press, Veatch told them the plane crashed into thick forest after entering a cloud bank.

Unable to reach her step-grandparents, she managed to climb down the steep slope and spent the night sleeping on the sandbank of a river. She followed the water down stream and eventually found a road, where she was picked up by two men on Monday and taken into Mazama.

"We crashed, and I was the only one that made it out," she told a 911 operator, after a store employee called for her, according to the AP. "I have a lot of burns on my hands, and I'm kind of covered in bruises and scratches and stuff."

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Lustick of the Civil Air Patrol told reporters: "It's a miracle, no question about it," adding that he had spent 30 years in search and rescue. "Moments of joy like this can be hard to find."