“I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane but maintain at 9100.” After a moment of silence, Darren heard back, “Caravan 333LD, roger. What’s your position?”
When a Cessna 208 flying from Florida to the Bahamas suddenly took a nosedive, passenger Darren Harrison sprung into action, managing to touch down with a landing considered “10/10” by veteran pilots
How a passenger with no flight experience landed a plane in a nosedive after the pilot passed out
By Marlene Lenthang; May 12, 2022
When passenger Darren Harrison heard his pilot say he wasn’t feeling well and saw him suddenly slump over the controls of the single-engine plane, sending it into a nosedive, he sprung into action.
Harrison was one of two passengers in the Cessna 208 plane flying from the Bahamas to Florida when the pilot became incapacitated Tuesday afternoon.
Despite having no flying experience, Harrison climbed over three rows of seats into the cockpit, moved the pilot out of his seat and scrambled to put on a pair of headphones and make contact with air traffic control — all as the plane was heading down.
In audio from a call he made to air traffic control at Fort Pierce tower, he said: “I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
At first Harrison didn’t know where the aircraft he was flying was even located. With help from air traffic controllers he was told to fly ahead and start a gradual descent, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
As he neared Palm Beach, Florida, Robert “Bobby” Morgan, a part-time flight instructor with experience piloting Cessna Aircraft, was called from his break to help out.
To Morgan, the landing was nothing short of a miracle.
“The pilot was slumped over on the controls and then they pushed him back, they get him out of his seat, then they have to get on the controls and pull back the plane so that it would climb up out of the dive it was in,” Morgan said on NBC’s “TODAY.”
“I just said, ‘You look great, you’re a little fast, what I want you to do is grab the throttle. Just pull that back a little bit cause we need you be slowed down,’” he recalled.
All hands were on deck to help the passenger-pilot land safely.