Four-time Olympian survives plane crash with family and puppy

RAY TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A crash landing just outside of Detroit sent three people to the hospital, including an Olympic athlete.

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The trio, all related, were in a Beech fixed-wing single-engine plane that had just taken off from the Ray Community Airport when the pilot said that he lost power to the engine, Macomb County sheriff’s deputies said in a news release. The pilot tried to land the plane and came down in an area just off the runway, deputies said.

Four-time Olympian Chirine Njeim was one of the passengers on the plane and has been released from the hospital, WXYZ reported. The 37-year-old was with her husband and their 17-year-old niece. Njeim’s husband, 44-year-old Ronny Kamal, was piloting the plane.

Njeim is an Olympian who represents Lebanon, and has competed in Alpine skiing and the marathon, WLS-TV reported.

All three were able to get themselves off of the plane, and were taken to hospitals for cuts, burns and broken bones, deputies said in their news release. Along with the three people on board was a 6-month-old golden retriever that had been seen running away from the crash site.

The puppy was found by a newspaper delivery driver the next morning.

“I opened up my window, and I said, ‘Hey sweetie. What are you doing out here?,’” Penny Faulk told WXYZ. “She was scared, but she was not hurt at all.”

Sheriff’s deputies said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.