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Traveler Safely Guides Aircraft in Florida After Pilot Becomes Unconscious


Traveler Safely Guides Aircraft in Florida After Pilot Becomes Unconscious

Yesterday afternoon, controllers at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida were alerted by a small privately-owned plane entering their airspace and delivering a troubling message.

“I have a serious issue here,” a passenger informed controllers via radio. “My pilot is unable to function, and I am clueless about operating the aircraft.”

Reportedly, the individual was a passenger on a single-engine Cessna 208 along with the pilot, who suddenly encountered a medical crisis, rendering them unresponsive. Through the airplane’s communication system, the passenger sought assistance but lacked knowledge of the cockpit instruments. The controllers picked up the distress call and promptly guided the passenger on controlling the plane and descending towards the airport.

“Attempt to keep the aircraft level and initiate a descent gradually. Push forward on the controls and descend at a slow pace,” the controllers directed the passenger.
“Try to follow the coastline either heading north or south. We are working on locating your position.”

With the guidance from the controllers, the passenger managed to skillfully land the aircraft on the runway at Palm Beach International. The passenger was confirmed to be unharmed, while the condition of the pilot remains undisclosed.

Following the landing, a tower operator briefed some other pilots on the tarmac about the incident. “You just observed a couple of passengers landing that aircraft,” they informed an American Airlines pilot.

“Did you mention that passengers landed the aircraft?” inquired the pilot. “Oh, my Goodness. Exceptional work.”

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