A passenger with zero flying experience was forced to land an airplane after the pilot fell ill, NBC News reported Wednesday.
The passenger, who was not identified, was aboard a single-engine Cessna 208 flying along the coast of Florida when the incident occurred, according to NBC News. The pilot suffered from an unspecified “medical emergency” and was unable to fly the plane after becoming “incoherent,” the outlet noted.
In audio from calls made to air traffic control, the passenger said, “I’ve got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane,” according to NBC.
The air traffic control dispatcher then guided the passenger through the landing, instructing him to “maintain wings level” and “follow the coast” while crews searched for the plane’s location, NBC reported. (RELATED: Plane Makes Emergency Landing After Passenger Allegedly Assaults Flight Attendant)
Jet Blue pilot Justin Dalmolin had to delay landing his own plane while air traffic control assisted the passenger aboard the Cessna 208. He told WPBF 25 News it was “absolutely incredible.”
“The level of difficulty that this person had to deal with in terms of having zero flight time to fly and land a single-engine turbine aircraft is absolutely incredible,” Dalmolin said, according to the outlet. “The incredible part is not just flying the aircraft but obviously the most difficult thing which is configuring the aircraft for approach and landing. And then landing it, and that to me, for a zero time pilot.”
Capt. Robert Morgan, the air traffic control dispatcher who assisted the passenger, told CNN his experience as a flight instructor helped him guide the passenger-turned-pilot to land safely.
WOW: A passenger with NO flying experience landed safely after the pilot passed out!
The air traffic controller who directed him just joined us:
“He just said, ‘I don’t know how to fly, I don’t know how to stop this thing even if I get it on the ground.'” pic.twitter.com/269Znkb0X6
— Nora Neus (@noraneus) May 11, 2022
Air traffic control located the plane 25 miles north of Palm Beach in Boca Raton and guided the passenger to a safe landing at Palm Beach International Airport, according to the New York Post.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating what caused the pilot’s medical condition, the outlet reported.