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Passenger lands plane after pilot falls ill in Florida

Photo: CBS

A passenger with no flying experience landed a plane in Florida after the pilot passed out.

In a audio recording from the flight, the passenger, Darren Harrison, can be heard telling air traffic control a “serious situation” was unfolding.

An air traffic controller – who also teaches new pilots – helped guide the man down to Palm Beach International Airport just after noon on Tuesday.

The two later met on the tarmac for a hug.

The pilot of the Cessna 208 had been flying to Florida from the Bahamas when he told his two passengers he wasn’t feeling well, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

He fell against the controls, putting the small aircraft into a nosedive and a sharp turn.

The nature of the medical emergency has not been revealed, but the pilot is being treated in hospital.

The passengers had planned to land at Boca Raton in Florida, but were guided to Palm Beach airport because it had a longer runway, was less congested, and had much-needed radio coverage, the FAA said.

The passenger successfully landed the aircraft at 16:37 local time. Neither passenger had any injuries.

The FAA is investigating.

BBC; Editing by Tina Oyinsan