WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — A passenger onboard a small plane had to land it on Tuesday afternoon when the pilot was unable to do so.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot told his passengers he was not feeling well. That is when he fell against the controls and put the plane into a sudden nosedive.
That is when the passenger jumped in and pulled the aircraft out of the nosedive before radioing in to Fort Pierce Tower at Treasure Coast International Airport.
"I've got a serious situation here," the man said to air traffic controllers.
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Controller Christopher “Chip” Flores at Fort Pierce Tower answered the call, and asked the passenger where they were located. He had no idea.
Thanks to quick work from Flores, operational supervisor Justin Boyle, and operations supervisor Joshua Somers, air traffic control managed to locate the aircraft.
According to the FAA, Flores then helped the passenger get in contact with Palm Beach air traffic control who would help get the plane on the ground.
The man on the other side of the radio was Robert Morgan, an air traffic controller and certified flight instructor with experience piloting Cessna aircraft. He was on break when he got the call, but that did not stop him from jumping in to help.
"Luckily the passenger flying has been around aviation a little bit. But he wasn’t a pilot and didn’t really have any flying experience," Morgan said.
Morgan wasn't alone, though. He had operations manager Mark Siviglia, who stopped departures from PBA, and controllers at adjacent control facilities put aircrafts into holding patterns to help clear the runway, and traffic manager Ryan Warren who printed out a photo copy of the Cessna 208 cockpit for Morgan to reference.
Once Morgan was able to confirm the passenger was headed to PBIA and had the runway in sight, he helped walk him through landing procedure, the only thing left was for him to execute what Morgan had taught him.
The plane landed successfully at 4:47 p.m. with no injuries to either passenger.
Morgan added the landing was a bit "bouncy," but said it was a windy day and the landing couldn't have gone any better.
The passenger, whose name has not been released, thanked Morgan for helping him land the plane and said he just wanted to get home to his pregnant wife.
"We were able to work together as a team," Morgan said.