Pilot Who Passed Out Mid-Flight, Air Traffic Controller Who Helped Passenger Safely Land on Terrifying Ordeal

Kenneth Allen suffered an acute aortic dissection while flying from the Bahamas, leaving his friend Darren Harrison, who had no prior flying experience, to have to land the plane. He turned to air traffic controller Robert Morgan for help.

Kenneth Allen may be the luckiest pilot in the world.  

When Allen had a major medical emergency mid-flight, his passenger, who had no experience flying or landing a plane, kept his cool and safely brought them to the ground in Florida.  

“When I say I’m glad to be here, I’m really glad to be here,” Allen said with a laugh.  

Joined by his friend Russ Frank, who was a passenger on board the plane, as well as one of the five air traffic controllers who guided the plane to safely, Allen spoke for the first time about the terrifying ordeal.  

Allen was flying with his friends Frank and Darren Harrison from the Bahamas when he realized he wasn’t feeling well.  

“I remember telling Russ and Darren I didn't feel well, my head was pounding,” he said. 

Allen then collapsed. With no prior flying experience, Harrison took charge of the situation. 

Allen was moved to the back seat and Frank tended to him. 

"I kept tapping his feet, I don't know why, I guess I wanted to make sure he was still with us,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Harrison radioed air traffic control.  

“I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the plane,” Harrison told air traffic control.  

On the ground, air traffic controller Robert Morgan relied on his experience as a flight instructor to help him guide Harrison.  

“He was able to listen to me and I got more confident that he can pull this off,” Morgan said.  

But as the plane came in for a landing, Morgan was faced with the possibility of a new crisis. 

“I lost the plane on radar at 300 feet,” he said. “I don’t know if they're still there, I don't know if they crashed. I reached out to Darren and said, are you still there, and he said, ‘I'm still here.’” 

Once they landed, there was one question still needing to be answered.  

“He was on the radio, and he said, ‘How do I stop this thing?’” Morgan said.  

They soon thereafter learned Allen suffered an acute aortic dissection, a serious condition in which a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body's main artery. Doctors were not sure if Allen would make and it and let him FaceTime with his wife to say goodbye.  

But Allen is now steadily improving, and ever grateful that he has the chance at recovery because his friends were able to take control in the air and land his plane.  

“For them to remain calm is, God was in the plan," Allen said. “For Darren and Russ to remain calm in this unbelievable stressful situation, I can't explain it.”

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