An Oklahoma pilot was literally on his death bed after a fiery airplane crash in 2001. And not only did he survive, but he is now back to doing what he loves.
Dozens of friends and family members rallied around Matt Cole and celebrated his comeback tour. About 14 years later, Cole has overcome an extraordinary tragedy. The young pilot was a passenger in a plane in Florida when it crashed and burst into flames. Matt's body caught fire.
“Most people don't realize, I think, how poorly and how badly it can go up there in the plane sometimes,” Cole said.
He said he was asleep for the next two months and had 70, that's right, 70 surgeries.
“It was such a tough recovery. I had to learn how to do everything again. I had to learn how to eat and shower and everything,” he said.
He also had to learn to fly again with a prosthetic arm and a different hand. Almost a decade after that near-death experience, he was back in the cockpit and soaring through the sky.
“It's a totally different world up there. It's peaceful,” Cole said about flying.
And on Sunday, April 12, 2015 he reached new heights by opening his own flight school called ‘Blue Skies Flight School' at Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport.
Matt earned his licenses all over again after the crash, has been instructing for the last two year and now has his own school.
“This has been a dream come true for me,” Cole said before he cut the ribbon at Sunday's ceremony.
He said what he went through, though horrific and trying, has made him a safer pilot and a better teacher.