After a pilot of a private plane became incapacitated mid-flight, a passenger with zero flying experience was able to take control of the plane and land it safely.
The amazing incident unfolded on Tuesday afternoon at the Palm Beach International Airport in Florida.
According to reporting from CNN, audio from LiveATC.net detailed the moments that a male passenger aboard a private airplane radios in to air traffic control to inform them that the pilot had become “incoherent.”control to inform them that the pilot had become “incoherent.”vate airplane radios in to air traffic c
“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the unnamed passenger told the air traffic controllers. “My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
A quick-thinking air traffic controller by the name of Robert Morgan responded to the passenger and guided him and guided him in safely landing the plane at Palm Beach International.
The air traffic controller could be heard telling the passenger: “Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate. Try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We’re trying to locate you.”
With Morgan’s help, the passenger was able to maintain a controlled descent and successfully land the plane.
The outlet went on to report that other chatter heard a second air traffic controller informing pilots on the ground what had occurred in the air just moments before.
“You just witnessed a couple of passengers land that plane,” a tower operator can be heard telling a pilot who was waiting on the tarmac.
The pilot, whose plane was bound for Charlotte, North Carolina, could be heard on the audio responding, “Did you say the passengers landed the airplane? Oh, my God. Great job.”
Morgan, who has worked for two decades in tower control and is also a seasoned flight instructor, later told local news station WPBF-TV that he is glad he was able to help the passenger.
“I knew the plane was flying like any other plane, I just knew I had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land,” he told the station.
Morgan noted that he had never actually flown the specific model in question, so he had pulled up a photo of the aircraft’s cockpit in order to guide the passenger through the procedure.
“Before I knew it, he said, ‘I’m on the ground, how do I turn this thing off?’” he recalled.
Morgan said that, after the ordeal, he met the passenger on the tarmac and the two embraced.
“It felt really good to help somebody, and he told me that he couldn’t wait to get home and hug his pregnant wife,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement following the incident, noting that the pilot had suffered a “possible medical issue” while flying the plane.
The pilot’s condition is not known at the time of this report, and the agency is currently investigating the incident.