Pilot's Mother Reacts - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pilot's Mother Reacts

By: Dan Dennison

(KHNL) - Veteran Oahu Realtor Julie Coelho is not surprised by the actions of her son. 34-year old Robert "Sam" Robertson crash landed his vintage, twin-engine cargo plane on the side of a jammed South Florida freeway on Friday afternoon. He currently is in a Ft. Lauderdale hospital intensive care unit, where his mom says he is very, very sick.

Images of the dramatic aftermath of the crash have been printed and broadcast nationally. Robertson was trapped in the pilot's seat as firefighters foamed the wreckage down and then used special equipment to free him from the "decapitated" fuselage.

In an exclusive interview with KHNL News 8 in Honolulu, Coelho says, "we are very hopeful that he's going to come out of this just the way he went in". She says he had the presence of mind, despite excruciating pain, to tell emergency room doctors and nurses his mother's name and phone number. Coelho and one of her sisters departed for Florida as soon as they got the call.

Drivers on Florida's I-95 and other witnesses to the crash describe Robertson's actions as heroic. It's believed he put the plane down on the freeway shoulder to avoid hurting someone on the ground. Coelho says, "I have to tell you that the amount of calls and people from the newspapers and television stations here; they're so grateful he landed his plane, when it just dropped all the way down and me manuvered it on part of the I-95 freeway where there were no cars". She says if the hospital allowed flowers his room would be overflowing. "I think it's just a miracle that he was able to come out of this; it's just a miracle. I know it sounds like a real mother thing, but that's the kind of person he is; he would do that to make sure other people weren't hurt. A lot of people besides me would say that. It is the way he is, he's just like that. The paper said what a hero he is and he is; I'm so proud of him".

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