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Friends and family gather to pray for plane crash survivor

'As long as he's alive and with us, it's the world to us,' father says
Posted at 9:58 PM, Jul 02, 2021

JUPITER, Fla. — A Martin County family gathered Friday to celebrate and pray for a speedy recovery for Max "Tiger" Berger.

"Our father we are grateful again," a pastor said.

While a group of family and friends stood and prayed, Jeff Berger is thankful so many people showed up to help lift his son Max and his family in prayer.

Martin County family gathering.PNG

"Every day is a little bit better. Initially, he was unconscious with a severe brain injury, and now his eyes are open and there's some hand movement," he said.

Jeff Berger said Max and his student pilot Malik Baker were injured in a plane crash exactly two weeks ago near the area of Turnbridge Drive just after 6:30 p.m. that day.

"When he landed here, he lurched forward, and part of the dashboard and windshield went into his brain," he said. "Fortunately, it didn't hit any of his blood vessels, but his skull was crushed and had to be replaced with titanium."

The two were in a single-engine Cessna 172 when the plane crashed into a field.

"When we were just about to crash, there was that moment of tenseness, but you just kind of pray and hope for the best," Malik Baker said.

It was only Baker's fourth flying lesson. He called 911 and stayed with Max till help arrived.

"Just more that sense of kinship, also a feeling of duty as a man. If this man saves my life I owe it to him, I have to be with him the whole time," Baker said.

At Friday night's gathering, friends of Max flew overhead in his plane while a group from Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue's Station 19 drove through with lights and horns.

Folks here wanted Max to feel the love they have for him.

"As long as he's alive and with us, it's the world to us," Jeff Berger said.