Passenger Who Landed Plane After Pilot Emergency Is An Interior Designer With No Flying Experience
The father-to-be was returning home from a fishing trip in the Bahamas as a passenger on a 9-seat Cessna, when the pilot suddenly slumped over the controls and the plane went into a nosedive.
A Florida man who made headlines after taking control of a small plane and successfully landing it when his pilot blacked out has been identified.
Darren Harrison, 39, of Lakeland, is the vice president of an interior decorating company. He and his wife are also expecting a new baby.
Harrison was returning home from a fishing trip in the Bahamas as a passenger on a 9-seat Cessna, when the pilot suddenly slumped over the controls and the plane went into a nosedive.
Harrison knew he had to act fast. His friend was on the plane with him, but it was Harrison who rushed to the cockpit, grabbed the controls and got the plane level. He tried to communicate with the control tower, but had trouble plugging in the headphones.
“I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane,” Harrison said over the radio.
Air traffic control gave Harrison an urgent flying lesson.
“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 said.
“We all started going to work, starting to try to locate this plane,” Chip Pierce of Fort Pierce Air Traffic Control tells Inside Edition.
When asked what his position was, Harrison said, “I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.”
“Just try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We're trying to locate you,” the air traffic controller said.
It's also being revealed that the plane vanished off the radar at a crucial moment: as Harrison was coming in to land at Palm Beach International Airport.
“The whole way in, he was lined up perfectly with the runway, so I knew since he was doing so good already that he would definitely get close in to the runway,” Palm Beach air traffic controller Robert Morgan said.
Harrison kept a cool head, and incredibly, touched down safely.
After landing, Morgan showed him a photo he used to familiarize himself with the controls of the Cessna.
Now the nation is singing the praises of the father-to-be who pulled off the miracle landing.
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