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‘God helped me’, passenger who landed plane who knew nothing of flying

North America'God helped me', passenger who landed plane who knew nothing of flying

“I have no idea how to fly an airplane, says passenger who landed a plane without aviation knowledge after the pilot had fallen unconscious.

This stunning incident occurred in Florida, USA when the pilot on his single-engine Cessna 208 airplane had fallen unconscious.

How the Passenger Took Over the Plane:

The passenger Darren Harrison says that he was relaxing with his feet up in the back of the single-engine Cessna after a fishing trip in the Bahamas when the pilot told him and another passenger: “Guys, I gotta tell you I don’t feel good.” The 39-year-old flooring salesman Darren says he kept calm as the pilot suddenly said, “I’ve got a headache and I’m fuzzy and I just don’t feel right.”

Darren said he asked, “What do we need to do” at that point, the pilot didn’t respond at all and Darren knew it was serious.  He climbed into the cockpit, found the pilot unconscious, and noted to his horror that the plane was diving, and fast. “All I saw when I came up to the front was water out the right window and I knew it was coming quick. At that point, I knew if I didn’t react, we would die.”

He saw the pilot was unconscious and grabbed the controls, slowly pulling back the stick to level the plane. It was a common-sense move, he said. “I knew if I went up and yanked that, the airplane would stall,” he said. “And I also knew that at the rate we were going, we were going way too fast, and it would probably rip the wings off of the airplane.”

That, he said, was “the scariest part of the whole story.” With help from the other passenger “a friend of the pilot, he said” they moved him out of the pilot’s seat. Harrison jumped in and put on the headset, only to realize that the wires were frayed and the plug was gone. So he got the headset from the other passenger.

He reached Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan, a certified flight instructor in Florida, who was on a break. Asked if he knew the plane’s position, Harrison said the GPS was out so he had no idea. According to Flight Aware, the plane had taken off earlier Tuesday from Marsh Harbour International Airport in the Bahamas.

The air traffic controller r Robert Morgan then asked what he could see. “I see the state of Florida and I see a small airport,” Darren Harrison told him. At this point, he did not allow fear to set in.

“When I was flying and saw the state of Florida, at that second I knew I’m going to land there,” he said. ?I don’t know what the outcome’s going to be, I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but I knew I’m going to have to land this airplane because there’s no other option.”

“People said what if you had crashed and died” You could have at least called your wife, you could have reached out to her, you had time,” Harrison said. “In my mind, I knew I wasn’t going to die, and the thought never crossed my mind to call and tell my wife bye.'”

Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan coached Darren into a safe landing at Palm Beach International Airport, and told him the runway would appear bigger and bigger as he approached. At around 200 feet, Darren said Morgan told him he needed to slow down.

Morgan himself had never flown this model Cessna. Morgan made the huge decision to guide the aircraft to the area’s biggest airport, helping the passenger-turned-pilot position his aircraft 8 miles out from Palm Beach International, “just so he could just have a really big target to aim at.”He pulled up a picture of the instrument panel’s layout and started guiding his new student step-by-step.

“At that point, I told the other guy, hey take the throttle and dump it on the floor. Just dump it on the floor as far as it will go,” Darren said. The plane touched down safely.

“I said thank you for everything and I threw the headset on the dash and I said the biggest prayer I’ve ever said in my life,” Darren Harrison recalled. “That’s when all the emotion set in,” he added.

The pilot was taken to a hospital and is expected to be released early this week. Darren then called his wife, who wasn’t expecting to hear from him so early.

Other pilots were stunned, as another air traffic controller relayed across the airwaves what had just unfolded, other audio captured by LiveATC.net indicates.

“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” the tower operator can be heard telling an American Airlines pilot waiting to take off for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Did you say the passengers landed the airplane?” the American Airlines pilot asked. “Oh, my God. Great job,” he said.

The condition of the original Cessna pilot, who had a “possible medical issue,” was not immediately known, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

After the Cessna’s landing, Morgan met his new student, who gave him a huge hug and said thank you.  “It was an emotional moment. He said that he just wanted to get home to his pregnant wife,” Morgan said. “And that felt even better.”  Darren’s wife said that last year, her sister was six months pregnant when her husband died, “So honestly I took a deep breath and prepared myself for it not to be him on the other line.”

When people were applauding Morgan for guiding Darren Harrison to the landing, he said, “In my eyes, he was the hero,” Morgan said. “I was just doing my job.”

In a recent interview given to NBC’s “Today” show, Darren Harrison, the passenger mentioned that “the hand of God” was with him when he landed the plane for his and the pilot’s safety.

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