Palm Beach, Fla. – The pilot of a private plane that took off on May 10 suddenly became incapacitated. Things could have turned extremely ugly if it wasn’t for a passenger who somehow managed to follow instructions and land the plane safely at Florida airport on Tuesday.
Detailing the challenging circumstances, the unidentified person could be heard informing air traffic control that he does not know how to fly a plane. “I’ve got a serious situation here,” said the passenger according to LiveATC.net audio which was obtained by CNN.
“My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.” According to Mirror, the aircraft was nearly 7-miles north of the airport when controllers got wind of the situation.
The passenger ultimately managed to safely land the plane at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. Meanwhile, in additional audio, another air traffic controller can be heard alerting other planes about the situation that had unfolded on board the private plane. “You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” said the tower operator while conversing with an American Airlines pilot who was waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?” asked the American Airlines pilot in disbelief. “Oh, my God. Great job.” Per Aviation expert John Nance, this praise was actually a huge understatement for the feat the passenger had achieved. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard of one of these [Cessna Caravans] being landed by somebody that has no aeronautical experience,” Nance told WPBF-TV.
“The person on the airplane who had no aeronautical experience listened very carefully and obviously followed instructions with great calm. That’s what made the difference,” noted the expert. The Federal Aviation Administration later released a statement revealing that there were two people aboard the single-engine Cessna 208 when its pilot had a “possible medical issue.” Although the medical condition of the pilot wasn’t mentioned clearly, the FAA is currently investigating the case.