TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The pilot who crashed his plane into Lake Palestine on the Fourth of July is singing praises from his hospital bed. Father and son,
and were saved by nearby boaters. Tuesday, from the hospital, Gary is still counting all of the ways that the crash turned into a blessing.
"All things considered, this is a pretty good outcome," says Gary Buster.
While cooped up and recovering in a Tyler hospital, Buster has replayed what went wrong over and over in his mind.
"I just missed it by that much," says Buster while pinching his fingers together. "I ran out of airspace. When you're too low, you're too slow for the airspeed and you have a quartering air wind... I needed to increase the speed before doing any maneuvers," he explains.
Buster says he and his son, Aaron, hit the water at 120 miles per hour. The crash was a momentary scare, followed by a series of blessings.
"[Aaron] immediately turned around and became my blessing and said, 'Dad, you need to undo your seat belt right now,' so I said, 'Ok.' I undid my seat belt and realized I better take a breath first," recalls Buster.
Seconds later, the men were surrounded by holiday boaters who also happened to be nurses and scuba rescue divers.
"They were all at the right place at the right time," says Buster.
Now he says says it's only right that he tells them how thankful he is.
"For all of the people that lent a hand, that pushed [on my head to stop the bleeding], that held an umbrella over us, that had a boat, that threw out a life jacket, that helped me get onto a backboard, that held my toe up so my foot was in the right position so I wasn't screaming --because my foot was flippity floppity-- all of those people... I need to pat on the back and say, 'Oh, thank you so much for being there,'" says Buster.
Buster believes it's "painfully obvious" God still needs him here.
"He'll let me heal up and however I heal up, off I'll go marching in that direction," Buster says. He plans to go off in whatever direction he's supposed to go, doing whatever it is, he says, he must still be here to do. Aaron Buster had a serious sprain but was released from the hospital days ago. Gary Buster suffered a compound fracture in his right leg. Doctors are monitoring his injuries to prevent an infection. Buster says he'll have another plane soon and when he's well, he'll be back up in the sky. The Zenith Zodiac Buster was flying was
with a $35,000 value and it was not insured.