Mother of Marana plane crash survivor tells story

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In a Fox 11 exclusive, the mother of a plane crash survivor speaks out.  Julia Nicholson, 16, went down in a small plane Saturday morning, and lived to see another day.

"The certificate was for a discovery flight so it was her first time in a light airplane," Kathleen Nicholson said the flight out of Marana was supposed to be a present for daughter Julia's 16th birthday.

Robert Coultier, 46, was piloting the light aircraft, Kathleen was on the ground.

Kathleen describes the scene from her vantage point.  "And he had taken that circle and i had the camera filming right above us going 'oh she's right above us and then he took a hard bank and then the plane went behind the hanger," she said.

At first there was confusion, then shock.  "We heard a thud and i didn't see a fireball so i thought well did they? And then there were people running saying call 911," said Kathleen.

Passenger and pilot were rushed to UMC. Coultier later died. Julia pulled through with relatively moderate injuries.  Kathleen's astonishment is clear.  "And she just went walking upstairs in the hall a little bit. We're going home and it's just been three days and she was in a plane crash for Pete's sake," said Kathleen.

Julia isn't ready for the spot light just yet, but she's been talking about the moments before and after the crash.  "She remembers they were really low to the ground and she thought, 'that's not good,'" explains Kathleen.  "And then she remembers that people were moving her."

Julia's amazing survival isn't the only miracle in this story. LifeNet crews are stationed at Marana airport; so, medical personnel were on hand when the plane went down.  "Every little thing. So many people to help that day. So much to make sure and she's going to be alright," said Kathleen.

Kathleen wants to know what went wrong that day, but she says she's confident Robert Coultier tried his best to ensure her daughter lived.  "I really think the pilot did some heroic things to make sure, i really do," Kathleen added.

Right now Julia's vision is blurry and there is a little disfigurement near her eyes that may or may not get better with time.

She is expected to recover from all of her other injuries.