Monday, June 27, 2011


A tragic coincidence has occurred in the life of Fort Wayne, Indiana, high school basketball star Austin Hatch (1st image). Here are the circumstances:

September 2003 At the age of 8, Austin was flying with his family to their summer home on Walloon Lake in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. His father, physician Stephen Hatch, was piloting the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza. With conditions of poor visibility, Dr. Hatch diverted to Fort Wayne International Airport, which had a more sophisticated instrument landing system. Several miles short of the runway, he clipped a power pole and went down. The plane hit the ground, flipped on its top, and burst into flames near the Charlevoix Municipal Airport (2nd image). Dr. Hatch survived with burns and his son Austin escaped with minor injuries, but Austin's mother Julie, 38, his 11-year old sister Lindsay, and his 5-year old brother Ian (photos here) were killed. "Steve reached over to his son who was sitting in front with him and tossed him out the window to save his life," said David Bojrab, Dr. Hatch's close friend and business partner.

June 2011 Now age 16, Austin was returning from the same summer home in another single-engine plane piloted by his father. For as yet unknown reasons, the plane crashed into a residential garage on Friday evening. The accident (3rd image) - which left Austin with a fractured skull, broken bones, punctured lungs, a bruised brain, and deep facial cuts - killed his father, 46, and stepmother Kim. "They're all gone. He's the only one left. What's the chance of that happening? A million to one, if that. It's just unbelievable...But he's just a strong guy, a strong kid. That's what saving him right now," said Austin's basketball coach Dan Kline. Doctors hope to bring Austin out of his drug-induced coma today.

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