Jordan Wells Walking Again, One Year After Miracle Survival

Jordan WellsCourtesy Wells Family/ABC News
Jordan Wells is walking again a year after surviving car and helicopter crashes, thanks to a cutting-edge new prosthetic.

It was just one year ago that 19-year-old Jordan Wells lay dying in the woods near her hometown of Waldorf, Md.

In September 2008, Wells was a college freshman home for a weekend reunion when she survived a car crash only to endure a medevac helicopter crash on the way to the hospital that killed everyone else on board, including her best friend.

Wells lost one of her legs and in the last year has undergone 24 surgeries to repair a broken cheekbone, nose, eye socket, shoulder blade and the five disks that were dislodged along her spine.

VIDEO: Jordan Wells is fitted with a prosthetic leg after a year of recovering.Play

Now, thanks to a cutting-edge prosthetic, Wells is back on her feet and said she is "feeling great."

"It feels like a real leg," she said today on "Good Morning America." "I'm just happy to walk."

Reunion Weekend Turns Tragic

On Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008, Wells, then 18, was behind the wheel of her car at 11 p.m., driving on slippery roads with best friend Ashley Younger, 17, in the passenger seat.

"I was driving and it was raining really, really hard that night," Wells told "20/20" earlier this year. "I don't remember how fast I was going, but I sure was saying to Ashley, I was like, 'I'm about to lose control.' And so before I knew it, it was going across the median and it was like bump, bump, bump, and we hit a tree."

Police and ambulances arrived on the scene to find the two girls in hysterics. Wells wanted to tell her parents about the crash but in the confusion, she lost her cell phone. Her parents, Scott and Lynn Wells, had no idea their daughter had been in a car accident.

Ashley Younger reached her mother, Stephanie Younger, on her cell phone, and her parents raced to the scene of the accident, where paramedics were trying to get the girls out of the car and determine the extent of their injuries.

Rescue Helicopter Crash: 'I Remember Us Hitting the Tree'

At 11:45 p.m., a medevac helicopter took off for the 25-mile flight to the emergency room at Prince George's County Hospital with Wells and Younger on board. Pilot Stephan Bunker had received weather information from air traffic control before taking off, but it was raining much harder than he'd been told, and there was dense fog.

"I remember taking off, I remember flying," Jordan Wells told "20/20." "I remember feeling the helicopter trying to land. But [the pilot] said he couldn't land because it was raining too much. And he said, 'We're going to turn around and take you to southern Maryland.' And I think I remember us hitting the first tree and that's when my face hit the side of the helicopter. ... And that's when I blacked out."

The chopper, with the pilot, the medical technicians and the girls on board, crashed into the woods a few miles from Andrews Air Force Base. It smashed into thousands of pieces, the wreckage strewn through the forest.

Emergency personnel began combing the thick woods when the helicopter disappeared from radar, but for two hours, Wells lay helplessly on the ground shivering, surrounded by debris, soaked in fuel and drifting in and out of consciousness.

"I woke up in the woods and it was dark and it took a second to realize what happened," Wells told "20/20." "And I was just in a lot of pain, and I was cold. And then I realized the helicopter had crashed. And I was all alone, not knowing if anyone was going to save me. I was definitely in pain, because I had bones sticking out everywhere."

"I was really scared," she continued. "So I started yelling for help. I was thinking, 'Am I going to die out here or is someone going to find me?'"

"I could hear someone looking for me, and they were running for me, and I like saw them come to me, and I just felt relief," she said. "Felt like God answered my prayer."

Wells was rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where Stephanie Younger had just learned about the crash.

"We overheard someone say that the helicopter crashed," she said. "And the only person [who] came in was Jordan. And to hear it like that, it was, you know, it was still hard to believe [her daughter Ashley] was gone."

At 4 a.m., Scott and Lynn Wells received a phone call informing them of the accident.

"We went to the emergency room, and I knew something different was up because the head doctor was right there, and he's saying things like, 'You know, your daughter was the sole survivor of a helicopter crash,'" Scott Wells said.

Jordan Wells' Fight for Life

Dirt and helicopter fragments were embedded deep into Jordan Wells' body. She had sustained several serious injuries, and her legs were completely shattered, a bloody mangle of muscle, bone and skin.

"We just put our hands on her and prayed for her," Scott Wells told "20/20."

After several hours of surgery, Wells was transferred to the Baltimore Shock Trauma Center. For 10 days, doctors operated to put her back together. They fought to contain the infection in Jordan Wells' right leg, but it was a losing battle.

"I remember waking up in the morning in the hospital and seeing my pinkie toe was gone and then my next toe was gone," she told "20/20." "Every time I went into surgery they took a little piece off my foot. [And] my doctor told me how it was going to be if I kept it and it would be infected. And he told me the best thing to do is to amputate."

When she finally came home from the trauma center two months later, it was "fantastic" for her parents.

"Her friends arranged a reception for her," Scott Wells said. "They were sitting in front of the house with a banner, screaming and yelling and videotaping and just welcoming her home."

When she first arrived home, Wells required around-the-clock care. A parade of visitors and friends were always around, lending a hand ... and a laugh. But her recovery was slow and painful; she was almost totally dependent on her parents.

"I think it's pretty tough, because my mom has to stay by my side for everything," Wells told "20/20."

Wells was confined to a wheelchair but made tremendous progress, eventually taking part in a swimming competition and going horseback riding.

In February, Wells attended a National Transportation Safety Board hearing in Washington investigating her crash and others involving medevac helicopters.

Preliminary findings suggest that the emergency chopper should have stayed on the ground that stormy night. Air traffic controllers, the report says, were "casual and sloppy," relaying a misleading weather report to the pilot that sent him straight into thick, blinding fog.

Road to Recovery for Two-Time Crash Survivor

For families of the dead, questions linger about why the girls were airlifted instead of sent by ambulance to the hospital, questions, of course, that will never bring back Ashley Younger.

"Even now I think about her. I just see her smiling ... just always full of laughs and joy and she loved people," Stephanie Younger said. "We were always together, always. She was my best friend as well as my daughter. She just feels like a hole in my heart."

Wells said she has stopped thinking about the accident all the time.

"I still have days I think about the accident but not so much," Wells told "GMA" recently. "I'll never forget the accident, but I've learned how to accept losing my leg and I'm learning more and more each day that Ashley is gone and just trying to move forward."

Last week, she got a new leg, called a V-Hold. The cutting-edge prosthetic is designed to adjust to different terrains and elevation, using a computerized socket system that moves with the patient. (Click Here for more information about the prosthetic).

She said the new prosthetic is comfortable and "feels lighter, feels like it's always with me."

"It can monitor and sense what the patient is doing," said Phil Hewett, the prosthetist from Hanger Inc. "So it knows if they are kicking, running, jumping or moving."

Wells knows how lucky she is.

"I wish I had my leg, of course, and it's a struggle and it's painful, so I get frustrated, but besides that I'm just grateful I can walk," she said. "I broke my neck and my back, so it's even a miracle that I'm walking."

Stepping out of the wheelchair and standing up for the first time "felt good."

"I forgot I was that tall," she said, laughing.

Click Here for more information about Jordan Wells' cutting-edge prosthetic.'s Katie Escherich contributed to this report.