Pilot injured in crash on Lake Palestine thanks "angels" for their help

Pilot injured in crash on Lake Palestine thanks "angels" for their help

TYLER (KYTX) - It's been one day since a father and son escaped with their lives -- after crashing their small plane into lake Palestine. CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey spoke exclusively with the father -- who was flying that plane and explains his story of survival.

Gary buster and his son Aaron were heading back to the Aero Estates Airpark from Mineola, when a mis-judged air maneuver went wrong. The pilot says wind speed, sky and pilot error played a role in the accident. After the crash, the two were able to safely get out, but it's what good Samaritans did afterward that Gary says made all the difference.

Bruises and stitches mark Gary Buster's face. Even so, a smile can also be seen.

"We're gonna heal up, we're on the good side of things."

Sitting in a hospital bed with a crushed ankle, and too many staples and stitches to count, he says he and his son are where they should be: alive.

423 but by golly we're on this side of the time line...107 there are a whole bunch of mile markers where you can say there was an angel was there."

Buster said a mis-guided air maneuver caused the crash.

"We got too slow on a down wind and whenever I made my first turn, I already knew I had messed up... Pilot error, I'll be the first one to tell you. As I as trying to pull the wing up, i ran out of space."

He says when he and his son hit the water at 120 miles per hour, both were conscious the whole time. His son Aaron got out first.

"I took one last breath cause the plane was going under quick took a breath and then unsnapped, popped up to the top."

By then good Samaritans were coming form every direction, the first threw down life jackets, the second, helped them into a boat, next the people on a pier pulled them to shore. And EMS took over.

"I want to thank all the people who were in the right place at the right time all these angles were lined up in a domino effect, here I am."

He's not sure of how long he's going to have to be here in a hospital bed, but it's better than the alternative.

As for his life after this...

"I have no reason to think that i shouldn't be flying."

He'll be ready to get back into the air. Surgery has't been performed on busters crushed ankle yet. Doctors have to make sure all the lake water and possible infection is gone, before they can patch things up.


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