Teen plane crash survivor: "I was so afraid of dying"

Last Updated Jul 17, 2015 10:24 AM EDT

We've been amazed by a teenager's remarkable story -- surviving a plane crash that killed her grandparents and then a three-day trek to safety through the mountains of Washington State.

But it turns out, we didn't know the half of it.

Autumn Veatch had just survived an air crash; her grandparents were dead; she was alone on a mountain. How did she hold it together?

"I really wasn't," she said. "I was sobbing, I was panicking, I was so afraid of dying."

She was flying for only the second time in her life when the single engine plane hit bad weather.

"It was just clouds, and then it was trees, and then it was fire," she remembered. "I have no idea how I got out, but I mean, I was just packed full of adrenaline and just got out super fast.

"I burned my hand trying to pull grandpa out," she said. "I'm very small. I couldn't pull him out, it was really [a] bad circumstance. I could smell my hand burning. Like the entire first day I could just smell my, like the flesh on my hand burning."

She said she was almost certain she wasn't going to make it.

"I mean, I don't have any experience living outside or anything besides like, the little bit of survivor shows that I saw when I was a lot younger."

What she remembered was to find a river and follow it. She did that for seven hours until night came.

She thought that if she went to sleep, she might not wake up.

"I was actually kind of hoping that," Autumn said. "I figured if I die in my sleep, that would be the most peaceful way to go. But I had like this sudden boost of hope. I was like: 'No way, there is still so much I have to experience. I can't die without having done this and this."

She kept moving for another day. Finally, she reached a highway.

"You know, I probably looked pretty messed up, so nobody stopped," she said. "I was out there for an hour and nobody would stop."

Then she saw two hikers.

"I was crying, it was kind of embarrassing."

The hikers drove her to a general store, then an ambulance took her to the hospital where doctors found no major injuries, and her father brought chicken nuggets.

"I've never wanted to live more than I did in that span of time, and now all I want to do is just go out and live and have fun and not waste my time."

Autumn says this has given her self-confidence she never had before.

See more of this interview Friday on "CBS This Morning."