Plane Crash Victim Finds Home Away From Home - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Plane Crash Victim Finds Home Away From Home

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The victim of a plane crash near Great Falls gets a new temporary home in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The day after Labor Day 2014, 11-year-old Rachel Lukasik survived when the Cessna 177 she was flying in took a nose dive near the Showdown Ski Area.

With 40% of her body covered in third degree burns, she was taken to the nearest burn unit, the University of Utah Hospital.

"Her grandmother gave her life to get her out of the burning wreckage," said Rod Lukasik, Rachel's father.

Rachel is staying in a hotel recently opened by the University of Utah Hospital, where the rent is cheap and the kitchens are open.

"This is an opportunity for us to be able to make something that's affordable to them at a time when they need that without pushing them into a financial situation," said David Entwistle, the CEO of the University of Utah Hospital.

Rod Lukasik has been in Salt Lake City since September 2, only going back home once for his mom's-- Rachel's grandmother's-- funeral services.

"Up at the hospital they were gracious enough to let me stay in the room with my daughter, but it was 78 days kind of living in a fishbowl," said Rod Lukasik.

Rachel's out of the ICU and can even use the shuttle service to see some of the city and get to her appointments.

"She spends about as much time out here in the commons area than she does in her bedroom," said Rod Lukasik.

Rod is balancing two households: one in Utah and another in Great Falls. He says he hopes to cut the bills in half soon.

About 30% of the University of Utah's patients come from more than 100 miles away. That's largely because it has the only burn unit in the Intermountain West Region, which includes Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana.

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