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(VIDEO) Passenger With Zero Flying Experience Forced to Land Plane After Pilot Suffers Medical Emergency


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A passenger with zero flying experience was forced to land a small plane at Palm Beach International Airport after his pilot suffered a sudden medical emergency.

The unidentified man took over the controls of a Cessna Caravan after the pilot “became incoherent” on the way back to Florida from the Bahamas Tuesday afternoon.

WPBF-TV reporter Ari Hait posted this footage of the landing.

WPBF 25 News aired this video report of the emergency landing.


WPBF News reported:

A passenger with no flight experience safely landed a private plane at Palm Beach International Airport Tuesday afternoon after the pilot suffered a medical emergency.

“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the passenger can be heard telling Air Traffic Control in Fort Pierce. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”

“Roger. What’s your position?” Air Traffic Control responded.

“I have no idea,” the passenger said. “I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea.”

“Maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast, either north or southbound,” Air Traffic Control told him. “We’re trying to locate you.”

Four minutes elapse as the passenger tries to figure out what to do.

“Have you guys located me yet?” he asked. “I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on. It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?”

Eventually, Air Traffic Control locates the plane on their radar. It was flying just off the coast of Boca Raton.

That’s when Air Traffic Control at PBIA took over and was able to talk the passenger through a very safe landing.

“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” Air Traffic Control said over the radio.

Another voice responded.

“Did you say the passengers landed the plane?” he asked.

“That’s correct.”

“Oh, my gosh. Great job.”

The name of the passenger has not been released nor has the name or condition of the pilot.

The Federal Aviation Administration believes he suffered a medical emergency and is conducting an investigation.

Jet Blue pilot Justin Dalmolin, who had to hold off on landing while flight controllers guided the passenger-flown plane, made these comments to WPBF News.

Dalmolin said the single-engine turbine plane is fairly sophisticated and he can’t believe flight controllers were able to talk the passenger through not only recovering from the plane’s dive, but stabilizing it and then landing it safely at PBIA.

“The level of difficulty that this person had to deal with in terms of having zero flight time to fly and land a single-engine turbine aircraft is absolutely incredible,” said Dalmolin.

Dalmolin said one of the flight controllers was a flight instructor and printed out a layout of the cockpit of the plane, and used it to guide the passenger through the steps of flying and landing the plane.

“The incredible part is not just flying the aircraft but obviously the most difficult thing which is configuring the aircraft for approach and landing. And then landing it, and that to me, for a zero time pilot,” said Dalmolin.

“I remember my first days when I first started flight training I was white-knuckled and sweating for my first ten hours of flight training,” he added.

Dalmolin said it was lucky it was daylight so the passenger at the wheel could see where he was going because it would have been extremely difficult if it had been at night or foggy.

“You know it’s nothing short of a miracle and I’m really glad for them and their families they had such a great outcome,” said Dalmolin.



 

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