Passenger with No Flying Experience Lands Plane After Pilot Has 'Possible' Medical Emergency

The passenger told air traffic control that he had "no idea how to fly the airplane" before the successful landing

Airport Runway
Photo: Getty Images

A single-engine plane landed safely at Palm Beach International Airport on Tuesday after its pilot experienced a "possible medical emergency," according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, the FAA said there were two passengers onboard the single-engine Cessna 208 plane — which is registered to Beach Amphibian LLC out of New Haven, Connecticut — during the flight.

When the pilot became "unconscious," one of passengers took over and called into the tower, an incident report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office obtained by PEOPLE noted. The plane was southwest of the airport at the time.

The identity of the passenger has not been released, but live audio from a call made to air traffic control at Fort Pierce Tower documented the passenger's distress. "I've got a serious situation here," said the passenger, according to NBC News. "My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane."

Asked by dispatcher of the plane's position, the passenger said, "I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me. And I have no idea."

From there, the dispatcher began walking the passenger through how to navigate the skies and fly the plane.

At points, the passenger noted how little they knew about the airplane they were flying, The Washington Post reported. "I can't even get my [navigation] screen to turn on," the passenger said. "It has all the information on it. You guys got any ideas on that?"

The tower eventually connected the passenger to air traffic controllers in Palm Beach County who guided the passenger to the Palm Beach International Airport, where they successfully landed the plane on the runway around 12:36 p.m., according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office's incident report. EMS was then sent to the aircraft.

One person had been taken into the hospital in connection to the incident, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office. The person's condition was not immediately known.

The Palm Beach County Department of Airports did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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