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Norfolk Botanical Garden president after fatal plane crash: ‘Life is indeed too short’

Posted at 6:11 PM, Mar 06, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-06 18:11:22-05

Norfolk, Va. - For the time since a small plane crashed in Norfolk Botanical Garden, the facility fully opened to visitors with the director saying the day was one to reflect and heal.

"Hug your families tonight, call your loved ones and be kind to a stranger," garden president Michael P. Desplaines said in a statement. "Life is indeed too short."

At the same time, the family of Dr. Michael Buxton, the pilot killed while trying to land a Mooney M20 at the fog-shrouded Norfolk airport, planned Sunday as the day to honor what they recalled in an obituary as his "adventurous spirit. " The wreckage has been removed from the garden, leaving only a few paint chips and scarred trees as reminders of what happened Wednesday. For reasons no one yet knows, Buxton veered the plane to the right just as he was nearing touchdown at the airport. The crash killed him and two of his longtime friends. Audio tapes from LiveATC.net show Buxton was having trouble with his heading indicator. An air-traffic controller had to give him left-turn, right-turn directions to get him to the airport. On his final approach, Buxton was a mile from the runway and landing with clouds hanging just 200 feet above the runway. The controller never heard from him again.

NTSB investigators will release a preliminary report in the coming weeks, and a full report on the crash in about one year.

Related: 

UPDATE: Local doctor, two others dead in plane crash at Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk International confirms all equipment working properly at time of plane crash