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‘I’ve Got a Serious Situation Here’: Passenger With No Flying Experience Lands Plane After Pilot Suffers Medical Emergency

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Passenger Lands plane

A passenger with no flying experience landed a small plane in Florida after the pilot became incapacitated following a medical emergency.

The pilot on his single-engine Cessna 208 had “gone incoherent” during flight, the passenger was telling air traffic controllers Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve got a serious situation here,” the unidentified passenger tells air traffic controllers at Fort Pierce Tower in a live audio call after the pilot on his single-engine Cessna 208 had “gone incoherent.”

“My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane,” the man said.

When asked by the tower for his position, he replied: “I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea.”

“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,” the air traffic controller can be heard telling the fledgling pilot in LiveATC audio. “Try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We’re trying to locate you.”

“Push forward on the controls and descend at a very low rate,” he added.

The passenger did not even know how to turn on the screens in the cockpit: “I can’t even get my nav screen to turn on,” he told the tower.

“It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?”

The controller – who was also a flight instructor – then walked the passenger through how to land the plane, which touched down safely at the Palm Beach International Airport.

As it landed, other aircraft listened in to the broadcasts from the tower, unable to believe what was happening. Other pilots were stunned, as the news relayed across the airwaves of what had just unfolded.

“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.

Watch the report from ABC-7 below:

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