DES MOINES, Iowa -- Craig Comstock remembers everything that happened on Sunday, July 9, when his single engine plane crashed shortly after taking off from the Corydon airport.
"As we took off, I got about 200 feet off the ground and I realized that there was a problem."
Comstock, who has had his pilot's license for 15 years, had to think quickly, and remembered something he had read. “I read a lot of NTSB reports over the years, the safety reports from the NTSB and a lot of the aviation magazines, and I read that one of the best places in that scenario to set a plane down is in a grove of trees," said Comstock. "Especially the upper part of the trees where the limbs will absorb a lot of that impact."
So, that's exactly what he did.
"About 30, 40 seconds out, after I made that decision I said a prayer," recounted Comstock. "I said, 'Dear Lord, please let Mary, my wife, walk away from this,' and then I turned to Mary before impact and I said, 'I'm sorry, sweetie,' and then we hit the trees."
Mary said the whole thing was surreal.
"Craig tells me, says, 'I'm really sorry, sweetie, here comes the trees,' and I personally thought, 'this is it.'"
But it wasn't.
"Go through the trees, flap, flap, flap, and then we stop and I realized I was alive," said Mary. "I had blood on my leg and my arm was messed up."
Grateful to have survived the impact of the crash, Craig and Mary turned their attention to the next danger facing them.
"Then we smelled the fuel and we heard the fuel running out the wings, and that was a scary moment because then I thought, 'okay, great, we made it this far, now we're going to burn up in this thing,'" said Mary.
"She was able to get out to the ground and we realized that there was fuel flowing, still flowing out of the broken wings onto the ground for quite some time and I'm just thinking, 'okay, Lord, this it,'" said Craig. "I had resigned myself to the fact that I was going to burn up in a post-crash fire."
But thanks to the help of first responders, and doctors and perhaps some divine intervention, a new chapter is just beginning for Craig and Mary Comstock.
The Comstocks believe that they survived the crash for a reason, and that God has a purpose for them, as explained by Craig:
"I told the surgeons here at the hospital that fixed me back up, I said, 'you guys are wonderful at putting back together things that you can see, but I'm here to tell you the Creator of the universe works behind the scenes putting together things that you can't see.'"