Air Traffic Controllers honored for helping Passenger land plane in Fla.

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JULY 14: A Delta airlines plane is seen as it comes in for a landing at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on July 14, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Delta Air Lines Inc. reported that their second quarter earnings rose a better-than-expected 4.1%, and also announced that they decided to reduce its United States to Britian capacity on its winter schedule because of foreign currency issues and the economic uncertainty from Brexit. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – JULY 14: A Delta airlines plane is seen as it comes in for a landing at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on July 14, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

OAN NEWSROOM
UPDATED 3:27 PM PT – Thursday, May 26, 2022

Several Florida residents were honored for their life saving actions to help land a small plane after the pilot suffered a medical emergency. On Thursday, the group was acknowledged by Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center during a news conference. The group included air traffic controllers, medical doctors and passengers of the plane.

Pilot Kenneth Allen was able to share his side of the story for the first time. The 64-year-old pilot recalled the moment he lost consciousness while flying ten thousand feet above the Florida coast on May 10, in turn, forcing a passenger with no flying experience to take control of the plane.

“I remember telling Russ and Daren that I didn’t feel well,” Allen recalled. “My head was pounding and I was seeing little blue lights sparkling through here. They asked me what that means and I said I don’t know, I have a really bad headache. Then I remember them poking me on the side of the arm saying “stay with me, stay with me.” That was it, I can’t really recall anything until my guys over here were pulling me out of the airplane.”

After Allen passed out, the passenger later, identified as Lakeland resident Darren Harrison, can be heard telling the air traffic controller he was not an experienced pilot and that he could tell he was facing the coast.

“I’ve got a serious situation here,” Harrison said. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”

Harrison took control of the plane and managed to land at the Palm Beach International Airport with the help of Air Traffic Control.

“I knew if I didn’t react that we would die,” he stated. “I reached over his body because at this point he’s unresponsive. I grabbed the controls of the airplane and slowly started to pull back on the stick and turn.”

Both Harrison and the other passenger credited Air Traffic Controller Robert Morgan for safely guiding them to the landing strip. Allen reportedly suffered a torn aorta during the incident, a typically catastrophic injury, which the Doctor’s who treated him asserted could have just as easily ended his life. Less than a week after the operation, Allen was up and about.

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