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An inexperienced passenger landed a Cessna 208 Caravan with the help of air traffic control in Florida on Tuesday afternoon after the pilot had an apparent medical emergency, according to reports.
“I’m in a serious situation here. My pilot has become incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the plane,” the unnamed passenger calmly sent air traffic controllers from inside the single-engine plane, WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach reported.
The Fort Pierce Air Traffic Controller asked the passenger his position, to which he replied, “I have no idea. I have the Florida coast in front of me.”
The inspector asked the passenger to keep his wings level and follow the shore while trying to locate him.
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The passenger anxiously called back four minutes later and asked if they had found him, explaining that he could not get his “navigation screen to turn on.” Officials eventually found him off the coast of Boca Raton and guided him to a safe landing at Palm Beach International Airport, where the air traffic controller added, “Kudos to the new pilot.”
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“You just saw a couple of passengers land that plane,” one of the air traffic controllers told other pilots over the radio. “Did you say the passengers landed the plane?” A commercial pilot responded. “Oh, my god. Good job.”
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Only the pilot and passenger were on board the aircraft. The pilot was taken to hospital in unknown condition, according to the WPBF.
An aviation expert told the WPBF that it was the first time he had heard of someone with no flight experience landing a plane as complicated as a Cessna Caravan.
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“The person on the plane, who had no aeronautical experience, listened very carefully and, of course, followed the instructions with great calm,” John Nance told the station. “That was what made the difference.”