KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – Dr. John Krogh lay on his back in a patch of prickly brush, blinded by the flaming fuselage (search) 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, he and his 44-year-old assistant, Wendy Bonham, of Spanish Fork, Utah, were the only people to live through Tuesday night's crash of a Corporate Airlines (search) commuter plane, which went down in a woods as it tried to land in Kirksville.
Two crew members and 11 passengers died. 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 (search), a twin-engine turboprop, indicated a normal flight with no problems as it approached the airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane's pilot said he saw the "field in sight," according to the cockpit voice recorder; 13 seconds later there was the sound of the impact. Three seconds later, the recording ends.
Krogh, a part-time faculty member at Provo College, talked about the crash in a lengthy telephone interview recorded Wednesday by Kirksville television station KTVO and shared with other media.
As the plane prepared to land, 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 something wrong — a mild bump 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, filling the craft with blue-black smoke.
"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 above.
Krogh dragged himself across the thorny bushes — tearing his skin — until he couldn't anymore.
As Krogh lay on the ground, 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.
Bits of burning fragment were raining 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,'" Krogh said.
Krogh's daughter, Janelle Vorkink, and four of her children were waiting at the terminal two miles away. 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 him softly crying, "Over here."
Once rescue workers finally found 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, Krogh's son-in-law and a physical therapist at the hospital.
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 the chance. All the other 13 people on board had died.
"It went from optimism to gloom," said Lee Vorkink.
Carol Carmody, a National Transportation Safety Board member, would not speculate on what role, if any, the weather may have played in the crash. A review of the plane's maintenance records, covering the past 30 days, also didn't uncover any problems, she said.
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," Anthony Delucia said, "he was the epitome of."