John Wildey, a passenger aboard a Cessna airplane flying over England, was forced to make an emergency landing after the pilot collapsed at the controls. Two flight instructors were called in to help the 77-year-old safely land the plane at Humberside Airport in England.
"The tragedy that could have unfolded was certainly mitigated," said Humberside Airport commercial director, Paul Litten.
After the unidentified pilot fell ill, a panic-stricken Wildey called Humberside Airport for a course of action. Seeing as Wildey and the pilot were the only occupants of the plane, he knew that their chance at a safe landing was in his hands.
Humberside flight instructor Roy Murray and a colleague were tasked with helping Wildey land the plane. After Murray calmed Wildey, he took him through the landing process with one minor dilemma: he had never flown this particular plane model.
"The problem was that I've never flown that aeroplane. I have flown a Cessna 172 four-seater before, but like all aeroplanes and cars, switches are in a different position," Murray told CNN. "With it being dark, I didn't want the lad to start looking around the cockpit and lose control of the aeroplane. So unfortunately, he (did) a blind landing, without any lights in the cockpit. All he had was the glare of the lights of the runway."
After three passes around the airport to gauge the landing strip, Wildey successfully landed the plane an hour after making the mayday call. Cheers broke out from people in the control room once the plane had landed safely.
"It's a fantastic feeling, knowing I have achieved something and probably saved somebody's life," Murray added. "I think without any sort of talk down he would have just gone into the ground and that would have been the end of it."
Emergency services were on the ground at Humberside to assist both the pilot and passenger once the plane had landed. Unfortunately, the pilot was pronounced dead after arriving at a nearby hospital on Tuesday.