Passenger Who Landed Plane In Flip Flops Describes Fighting Nose Dive


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The passenger who landed a plane in flip flops after the pilot fell unconscious in early May described fighting a nose dive as “the scariest part” of the ordeal during an interview Sunday.

Darren Harrison, 39, was flying from the Bahamas to Florida when the pilot of the single-engine Cessna 208 passed out, leaving Harrison to land the plane despite him having no flying experience, Today reported. The pilot suffered an unspecified medical emergency and became “incoherent,” so Harrison went to the front of the plane as the aircraft fell into a nosedive, according to the outlet.

“Just common sense, I guess, being on airplanes, because I knew if I went up and yanked that the airplane would stall,” he told Savannah Guthrie in the interview, “And I also knew at the rate we were going, we were probably going way too fast and it would rip the wings off the airplane.

“By the time I had moved forward to the front of the airplane, I realized that we had now gone into a dive at a very fast rate,” Harrison told Today, “All I saw, when I came up the front, was water out the right window, and I knew it was coming quick. Very, very quickly.”

Harrison described this moment as “the scariest part of the whole story.” He noted that if he hadn’t reacted, he, the pilot, and the pilot’s friend would all die.

“When I was flying and saw the state of Florida, at that second, I knew, I’m going to land there,” Harrison continued. “I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. I don’t know how it’s going to happen. But I’m going to have to land this airplane, because there is no other option.”

After landing the plane successfully, Harrison said the magnitude of the situation finally hit him, Today reported.

“I said thank you for everything, and I threw the headset on the dash and said the biggest prayer I’ve ever said in my life,” said Harrison, who is expecting a child with his wife later this summer, according to Today. (RELATED: Maskless Passenger Exposes Buttocks, Throws Can During Flight)

An air traffic controller and part-time flight instructor Robert Morgan helped guide Harrison through the necessary steps for landing, calling him the “best student ever,” Today reported. Jet Blue pilot Justin Dalmolin told WPBF News that he had to wait on his landing to allow Harrison to land safely, and that the whole situation was “absolutely incredible.”

You can watch part of the interview here: