Pilot recovering after crashing experimental plane into lake

Published: Jul. 7, 2014 at 9:52 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 5, 2014 at 9:56 PM CDT
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Lake Palestine on the Fourth of July. (Photo Source: KLTV Staff)
Lake Palestine on the Fourth of July. (Photo Source: KLTV Staff)

MINEOLA, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas pilot is still in the hospital after

on July 4.

Gary Buster, 56, was in good condition at a Tyler hospital on Monday night. Gary's 25-year-old son, Aaron Buster, was also in the plane but he was already released from the hospital.

Mineola's Wisener Field celebrated it's 97th birthday on Friday. It was one of the last stops Gary and Aaron made before the crash.

"Gary and his son were here, and several other aviators were here from around East Texas," recalls Lupita Wisener.

Wisener snapped a photo of Gary and Aaron Buster taking off. A short plane ride later, the two men sent concerns through the aviation community when the experimental aircraft they took off in crashed into Lake Palestine

"We're very happy they they're doing well. We were very concerned," says Wisener.

Wisener explains that experimental aircrafts aren't as scary as they may sound. The planes are home-built, piece by piece, instead of manufactured.

"Some can take years, some can take a few months... it depends on the effort that the individual puts in," she explains.

Wisener says the FAA inspects each experimental aircraft for safety before it's allowed in the sky.

"They will look at whatever plans there were and see that it's airworthy," she says.

According to FAA records, Gary Buster didn't build the plane himself, but he may have bought it from someone who did. Monday, the once sparkling red plane still sat at the bottom of the lake, but those who know Buster are just thankful he and his son made it out in a matter of seconds.

"That was wonderful that so many boaters were available to rescue them. We were just so grateful that they're doing well," says Wisener.

The FAA says their records still show that the crashed plane was a Cessna 310, however the people who watched Gary and Aaron Buster take off say the FAA has incorrect information. Next, the National Transportation Safety Board will coordinate with Buster's insurance company to have the plane removed from the lake for further investigation.

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