Austin Hatch has lived a life full of both tragedy and fortune – a life that many people would think only happens in the movies. The 28-year-old has survived two plane crashes in his lifetime – the same two plane crashes that killed his entire immediate family – but now lives a happy life with his wife and son.
Hatch was just eight years old when he was traveling with his family in their single-engine plane – who were returning from their lake house at Walloon Lake in Michigan. The plane ended up crashing into a utility pole in Wells County, Indiana – killing his mother, Julie, 38, and two siblings, Lindsay, 11, and Ian, 5.
In 2011, Hatch had just earned a college scholarship to the University of Michigan and was on his way to celebrate the accomplishment at his family’s lake house with his father, Stephen, 46, and stepmother, Kim, 44. The plane ended up stalling and crashing in Charlevoix, Michigan – killing Stephen and Kim.
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Austin Hatch describes the odds of surviving two plane crashes as ‘1 in 11 quadrillion and 560 trillion,’ but it wasn’t easy for him. Not only did he have to learn how to live in his family’s absence, but he barely survived himself and had to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat – basic things many of us take for granted.
He was placed in a medically-induced coma and was treated for brain trauma, broken collarbones, and a punctured lung. “I shouldn’t have survived, but I did, so there must have been some purpose in it,” Austin said in last week’s issue of PEOPLE magazine. Nonetheless, Austin is here, he’s alive, and he is thriving.
Austin Hatch ended up attending the University of Michigan after all and gained a loving wife, Abby, out of that experience. Their story is one out of a romance novel – they met on the first day of school when Abby was late to their first political science class. The seat next to Austin was open, so they sat together.
It only took a few months for the two to start dating and they ended up tying the knot a couple months after graduating from the University of Michigan. They have since welcomed a son into the world and, staying true to their storybook life together, their son was born on Austin’s 28th birthday in October 2022.
Austin Hatch Keeps His Family’s Spirit and Memory Alive
Austin Hatch knows his story is one that many people can learn from and gain inspiration from. While he used to work at the corporate office for Domino’s, he decided to leave his corporate job in 2019 – thanks in large part to the advice of his wife, Abby – and began pursuing motivational speaking full-time.
“She’s an incredible wife and I am so grateful for her. I don’t think that mindset is necessarily due to what I’ve lost, but maybe it has given me an even greater appreciation for the woman she is,” Austin said of his wife – who continues to support him and understands his story is one that needs to be told over and over.
Austin Hatch has since started his own seminar series – called Overcome It – and travels the world speaking to various organizations, schools, companies, and more. He’s currently preparing to speak with the United States Naval Academy, who use his story to teach midshipmen about overcoming adversity.
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“He feels a really clear sense of purpose right now with what he’s doing. I think you go through that twice and you know you’re on this earth for a reason. And there’s a lot of different reasons for that, most of which we’ll never know. But he talks about his purpose when he speaks, and it’s his family. It’s honoring his family in heaven, his family here, us,” Abby said of her husband.
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