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Posted on Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

U-M basketball recruit Austin Hatch in critical condition as more plane crash details emerge

By Juliana Keeping

Austin Hatch , who earlier this month accepted a University of Michigan basketball scholarship, is fighting for his life after surviving a plane crash that killed his father and stepmother, the Journal Gazette is reporting.

More details have emerged on the crash that occurred in Charlevoix. Hatch is listed in critical condition at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, a hospital official said Sunday.

Hatch is a junior at Canterbury High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., and a member of the 2013 Michigan basketball team’s recruiting class.

Thumbnail image for HATCH-PLANE-CRASH.JPG

A plane crash in Charlevoix left University of Michigan basketball recruit Austin Hatch in critical condition.

Friday’s crash was the second the star high school basketball player survived.

His father, Stephen Hatch, was also the pilot of a single-prop 1990 Beechcraft-Bonanza that crashed near Bluffton, Ind., on Sept. 1, 2003 on a flight from Boyne City to Fort Wayne. Stephen Hatch and Austin Hatch survived, but his wife, Julie; daughter, Lindsay; and son, Ian, died.

In a report released in January 2005, the National Transportation and Safety Board determined that "the pilot's inaccurate preflight planning which resulted in an inadequate fuel supply and subsequent fuel exhaustion" played a role in the accident.

Stephen Hatch was a Fort Wayne, Ind. pain specialist, according to Dr. Hatch’s medical practice partner told the news outlet the doctor’s son is in an induced coma after suffering bruising on his brain and fractures to his ribs and collarbone, and that it’s not yet clear if he’ll regain his capabilities as the extent of his brain injuries aren’t yet known. The 6-foot-6 Hatch is a guard/forward for Canterbury High School.

Witnesses told the plane’s engine kept cutting out before it plowed into a garage Friday at 7:45 p.m. on a residential street in Charlevoix.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the family was headed to their summer home in northern Michigan. The paper also reports that Stephen Hatch owns a flight instruction school and he's been a pilot since 1997.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter


david mallory

Mon, Jun 27, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

Austin hatch needs his Michigan family now. i think a big get well card that all the players can sign is nice. GOBLUE


Mon, Jun 27, 2011 : 12:44 a.m.

Sad story. Hope we will see him on the court this year.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 10 p.m.

My heart goes out to Austin and his extended family. What Austin has experienced in his young life, is devastating and tragic...My hope is that all will surround this young man with comfort and unconditional support as he begins the long road to physical and emotional recovery, I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

Back in the summer of 2004 my friend picked me up in his Piper Archer at the A2 airport after coming down from Traverse City. It was just before midnight on a friday night as we took off headed back to Traverse City. He had dropped his wife off in A2 to spend the weekend with my wife and we were headed north for a boys weekend. Once up to altitude ( 9,000 feet ) we hit strong headwinds of 40+ knots making our ground speed right around 75 knots. He was concerned about the possibility of running out of fuel because of the headwinds and I was concerned because it was pitch black out below and not a good place or time to land a small aircraft. The low fuel indicator came on when we were about 10 miles out. We landed safely but it was a rather scary ride. For my friend, he decided that he would rather fly full even if it was not necessary all the time. It sounds more like engine trouble for Dr. Hatch's plane rather than it running out of fuel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family's of all those impacted by this tragic accident. Good Day


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

I understand the those posters with a vast knowledge of aviation and/or aircraft specs wishing to extol their expertise, but wouldn't it be just as easy to wish this young man, that is facing unspeakable pain with the death of the remainder of his family, our condolences and prayers for a complete recovery? Austin, I hope you are able to take some comfort in knowing that you are being thought of in a good deal of prayers. Please know that when you are ready and able, the Wolverines and Ann Arbor will welcome you into 'our' family. May God bless you on this journey to recovery.


Mon, Jun 27, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

djm PIlot's do this as a matter of course. We are a rather tight nit community, and re-hash every accident to learn from it. It's not about 'extolling expertise'. We border on being a bit morbid, actually. Unless you want to end up in similar circumstances, it pays to learn from others' mistakes. Aircraft accidents tend to be serious. There is very little room for error. Spend time in any pilots' lounge and you'll see what I mean.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

Well said djm12652, well said.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

I am only offering my prayers for Austin, no finger pointing, no speculation, just prayers.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:57 p.m.

amen to that WalkingJoe...


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

First and formost, my heart goes out to Austin. He has been through so much. Losing his Mother and two sibilings in the frist crash in 2003 and now losing his father and step-mother in this recent accident. It's obivous, he is a very stong-willed young man. I wish him tons of healing and support. I will pray for him. Univeristy of Michigan is waiting for you Austin. It's not about what couldn't of, should of, would of. We are now dealing with a young man that has no immediate family. All he needs is prayers!!!


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:13 p.m.

First and formost, my heart goes out to Austin. He has been through the unthinkable. Losing his Mother and two sibilings in the frist crash in 2003 and now losing his father and step-mother in this recent accident. It's obivous, he is a very stong-willed young man. I wish him tons of healing and support. I will pray for him. Univeristy of Michigan is waiting for you Austin.

Tom Joad

Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

The Beech Bonanza has earned the epithet as "fork-tailed doctor killer" because so many high ego wealthy doctors, lawyers and business people flew them with limited experience into the ground. A witness described the plane as leaking fuel after it crashed into the garage. An aircraft has only so much usable fuel on board regardless of the stated fuel capacity. If it's proved that once again this doctor mismanaged his fuel /load/distance restrictions then I'd say the old adage holds.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

Which could have been fuel starvation. As spbuilder pointed out, too many general aviation aircraft are either under powered or overrated for load. An aircraft having a larger engine increases its fuel consumption. An aircraft's passenger rating should be for an average 250 pounds per person including baggage. That allows for a two hundred pound passenger and fifty pounds of baggage. Which places most aircraft with six seats at a two or three place aircraft, not six. Which explains the popularity of replacing the original engine with a more expensive turboprop.

Tom Joad

Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

There are old pilots and there are bold pilots but there are no old, bold pilots. This pilot had already ran out of fuel once leading to the deaths of his wife and two children. Only the pilot and son escaped. They weren't so lucky this time.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

I've been fighting myself not to reply because this story makes me so angry and I don't want to make more work for the deleteratti. I want to wait until there's a new report, but the eye-witness account of the sputtering is tipping me over the edge. How in the world did he still have a pilot's license after that 2005 report came out?


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

Just about everyone in the flying community knows the old addage that Bonanzas and doctors are a bad mix. I don't know why this is so, but the NTSB accident stats show an inordinate spike for this combination. The following is pure speculation! Again, speculation alert! Here goes. A six place aircraft with three on board with baggage means that you cannot take off with full fuel. Based on the fact that the engine was cutting in and out, it seems that fuel exhaustion was a factor. Fort Wayne to Charlevoix is several hundred miles. The good doctor ran out of fuel in the past. I'll stop here, lest the censors give way to trigger finger reaction.... Every pilot also knows another addage: Three things that are of no use to a pilot: 1) runway behind you 2) airspace above you 3) fuel left on the ground. Of course, in the end, the young man, his family, his friends and team mates are in our prayers.


Mon, Jun 27, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

snoopdog Early v-tail bonanzas were sometimes 5 place, but virtually every other model since, including the late model shown in the crash photo is 6 place. Other factors that come into play with payload: Baggage. Ever go on a weekend trip with only a toothbrush? I'm relatively certain that they had a fair amount on board. Runway length. Of course I don't know their departure point, but oft times you can't take off with max gross. Weather conditions. Hot, humid means your performance is diminished. Again, that would mean leaving some fuel behind. Etc. Seldom do you get to take off with max gross, and so I surmise that it would not be possible to depart with the tanks full in this case. We'll let the NTSB sort all of this out, though, and I'm sure they will. Another very telling point: there was no fire upon impact. That almost always means there was no fuel to burn. You can't even see the wings because they have been destroyed, hence ruptured fuel tanks. After reading countless entries in the NTSB Reporter, you can draw certain parallels.


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Also, the Bonanza is a very expensive single engine high performance aircraft. Only folks with an income like a doctor has could afford one of these planes. Perhaps that is why a high percentage of pilots in fact are doctors. Good Day


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 7:31 p.m.

ssbuilder, believe Bonanza is a 5 person plane if memory serves. Payload is also just shy of 1000# inc. fuel so after fuel, payload is around 550#. As you said, these three passengers ( 200 LB, 200LB and 125LB) plus luggage of appx ( 80LB) =605. This would mean the plane was shy of a fuel tank of fuel by 55 pounds. Plane would then be around 85% full of fuel. If he fueled at origin, he would not have run out of fuel as it could have gone around 750 NM .


Sun, Jun 26, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

That poor young man.