PHOENIX (KSAZ) - It's been a long time coming, but a teen who was severely injured in a plane crash in August 2017 is back home in Phoenix.
Brody Burnell, 19, and his friend Chandler were in a small engine plane back in August, on a flight to Sedona for lunch. FAA officials say shortly after take off, a mechanical problem was reported. Brody, who was piloting, indicated he would try to return to the airport, but he didn't have enough time.
Instead, Brody landed the plane the best he could, but it left both injured. Brody was critically hurt.
Fast forward to Wednesday, family, friends and coworkers gathered outside airport security to welcome home their friend who miraculously survived a plane crash, and it was the moment the Burnell family has been waiting for.
"I was most anxious for him to see grandma and grandpa," said Brodie's father, Bernie Burnell. "He was in a coma for three months, so we got him talking in November, late November."
Brody was in Colorado for five months, and then transferred to Omaha.
"There, they just baptized him in therapy all week, and he was there for three months," said Burnell.
It's been nearly a year, and now, Brodie is reunited with his friends. Friends like Ross, who made sure to see him as much as he could.
"He looks better every time I see him," said Ross. "I see him every day on Facetime, but in person it's definitely a different level of connection. He looks so good right now."
Brodie's dad says the first thing they will do tonight is what Brody has been waiting for.
"When we get home, he wants to play Playstation," said Burnell.
While Brody still has a Traumatic Brain Injury, his family says his sense of humor is back, and he's talking again. All of this happened within 10 months, so they're excited for what the next 10 months will bring.
As for Brody's friend, Chandler, he is doing well, and even graduated from Grand Canyon University.