One passenger safely landed a plane on the ground after the pilot became unwell. Darren Harrison, a vice president of an interior design company, managed to land the plane with the help of an air controller. While the plane was in mid-air, the pilot became unconscious and fell against the controls sending the aircraft into a nosedive and sharp turn.
The Cessna 208 Caravan was flying from the Bahamas to Paris when the pilot fell ill mid-air. Only two passengers and the pilot were on board. The passenger with no flying experience managed to get to the front seat of the plane during the 6500fpm dive. He then recovered the plane from the steep descent and radioed the air traffic control right after.
Robert Morgan, an air traffic controller, helped Harrison land the plane safely at the airport in Florida.
“I’ve got a serious situation here, my pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane” the pilot-passenger said. When Bobby asked Harrison what was his position, he responded “I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida coast in front of me but I have no idea”. When asked about the pilot’s situation, Harrison added “He is incoherent. He is out”
“You look great. You’re a little fast. I want you to grab the throttle. Just pull that back a little bit.” instructed the part-time flight instructor. However, as the plane was about the land, the aircraft went off the radar. Bobby kept trying to talk to him but after getting a hold of him, Harrison had already landed the plane on the ground.
“I kept trying to talk to him, and he said I’m on the ground, what do you want me to do now? How do you stop this? My heart just kind of sank and I was like thinking Thank God.” Bobby told NBC’S, Kerry Sanders. “I felt like I was in a movie,” Bobby said in an interview.
Harrison who landed the aircraft in flip flops, was motivated by the thought of his pregnant wife. Bobby had no prior experience with flying this kind of aircraft so he used a photo of the layout of the instrument panel. Bobby guided the inexperienced pilot-passenger step by step until he managed to stop the aircraft. The two passengers and the pilot landed safely with no injuries. The pilot was taken to the hospital.
Immediately after the landing, Bobby left the tower and went to meet his unexpected student and they both took a photo together. Both Bobby and Harrison have been dubbed heroes.
Both the air controller and the passenger come pilot stunned everyone with their miraculous perfect landing of the aircraft. “Did you say the passenger landed the airplane?” one commercial pilot who was waiting for take-off asked. “Oh my gosh great job” he added once he got a response from the tower. Another pilot commented ” I am very, very impressed by the passenger pilot. He prioritized flying the plane instead of searching for buttons on the plane while still remaining calm”