'I feel Like God Has His Hands on Me,' Says Teen B-Ball Star Who Lost Entire Family in Two Separate Plane Crashes

(Photo: Screen Grab via indianasnewscenter.com)Austin Hatch, 18.

In the first plane crash in 2003, his mother, brother and sister died. He and his father survived. Eight years later in 2011, Austin Hatch, 18, was sitting right next to his pilot father when their plane went down again. This time he was the only survivor.

Hatch's father died along with his stepmother, wiping out the last of his immediate family.

On Wednesday, speaking publicly for the first time since the 2011 crash, Hatch concluded that God must have a plan for his life.

"I feel like God has his hand on me," he said at a press conference in Los Angeles, according to the USA Today. "I feel like there's a plan for my life."

Just two weeks before the 2011 crash, Hatch, a 6-6 wing man at Fort Wayne, Ind., Canterbury High School had committed verbally to play basketball at the University of Michigan. The accident, however, interrupted everything and he hasn't played a competitive basketball game since then.

But on Wednesday, speaking from his new school, Loyola High School in Pasadena, Calif., the former Canterbury standout opened up about the crashes, losing his father, Dr. Stephen Hatch, who was the one operating the aircrafts during the two tragic crashes, as well as his physical and emotional recovery.


It was difficult to process what had happened to his life after he emerged from a coma after the last crash.

"I was dealing with the loss of my best friend, my coach, my teacher, my mentor and my No. 1 fan -- that same man was also my father, Dr. Stephen Hatch," Hatch noted in the USA Today.

"He taught me everything -- the work necessary to succeed, faith, determination and courage in the midst of hardship. Those traits I acquired from him are what saved my life," he added.

He reportedly spoke "calmly, confidently and articulately" while admitting his cognitive ability isn't back to where he wants it to be just yet, but he is grateful for his recovery so far.

"A lot of people have said my recovery is kind of a miracle," he said. "But you have to remember the significance of what I've been through. I had a traumatic brain injury."

The optimistic teen is now living with an uncle's family in order to complete a senior year of high school at Loyola, described by USA Today as "a tony Catholic private school in the shadow of downtown Los Angeles." He is practicing with the basketball team there but it isn't clear when he might be able to play.

Regardless of this situation, however, the University of Michigan's basketball coach John Beilein included Hatch in his 2014 recruiting class last week and he appreciates the gesture.

"[Beilein] told me that he wouldn't offer me a scholarship if he didn't think I had a role on the team that would help them win," said Hatch. "He said, 'Austin, whatever you are able to do, whether it be a manager or a practice player or whatever, you're on scholarship no matter what.'"

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