Rescuers seek work, not money

first_imgBy Juan Carlos Llorca DAVID, Panama – Two brothers who helped rescue a 12-year-old California girl after the plane she was in crashed in Panama said they’re hoping for a U.S. work visa as a reward, not money. Manuel and Miguel Angel Vurac were part of a group of volunteers who on Tuesday found 12-year-old Francesca Lewis, the sole survivor of the crash in Panama’s remote western mountains. They also found the bodies of Francesca’s friend Talia Klein, 13; Klein’s father, Michael Klein, 37, a prominent businessman from Santa Barbara; and Panamanian pilot Edwin Lasso, 23. Their Cessna 172 had disappeared two days earlier after departing from Islas Secas off Panama’s Pacific coast, heading for the Chiriqui volcano, about 270 miles west of Panama City. Francesca, also from Santa Barbara, had small bruises and lacerations but was otherwise in extraordinary shape, her doctors said. Kim Klein, Michael Klein’s ex-wife and Talia’s mother, offered a $25,000 reward to anyone who located the aircraft. “I was taught to earn a living through my work, and (work) is what I’m asking for,” said Manuel Vurac, who has previously been in the U.S. with a work visa. Vurac, 40, said he worked in forestry in Montana and Idaho until his visa expired a year ago. His brother Miguel, 32, is an electrician. Klein, speaking Saturday from Santa Barbara, said the men still would receive the monetary reward, possibly in about a week. The brothers and another man hiked for hours through fog and in freezing weather to reach the crash site. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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