By Beth Hillyer
(KHNL) - He completed pilot training on Oahu, even mastered emergency landings. But nothing could have prepared former Hawaii pilot Robert "Sam" Robertson for a crash landing on a busy Florida freeway on Friday.
Pilots we talked to here have only good things to say about Sam Robertson.
He learned to fly here and then went on to teach other students.
Without power the plane clipped a building then slammed onto the edge of a freeway. The pilot survived. His family rushed to Florida fearing the worst. This story begins with a fear of flying.
His Aunt Elise Boardman recalls, "This is somebody as a child did not like to fly, hated to fly and then decided that the way to conquer that was to become a pilot and be in control of the plane.
And I think he masterfully demonstrated control of the plane on Friday."
A freeway covered in debris, the top of the cockpit sheered off. Looking at this video many say it's amazing Robertson survived and no one on the ground was hurt or killed.
"He is gonna need major rehab he has orthopedic injuries that are going to compromise his mobility and if that is not addressed in a timely matter it will be compromised," explains Boardman.
Another aunt, Elena Smith is grateful, "Just wonderful staff, nurses, doctors everyone has been really kind and helpful."
He's off a respirator now and breathing on his own.
He's surrounded by love.
"He has family in Hawaii and we will do whatever it takes to get him back to his baseline. "