Tuesday, April 03, 2012
80 year old woman lands airplane after the pilot ate the chicken dinner and passed out!
An 80-year-old Wisconsin woman took control of a small airplane and managed to make a miraculous landing after her pilot husband passed out in midflight — and later died, local authorities said.
Door County police told local station WLUK that the unidentified couple was soaring in a twin-engine Cessna above Sturgeon Bay, some 50 miles north of Green Bay, at around 5 p.m. Monday when the pilot lost consciousness.
"[His wife] took over the aircraft," Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel told the station. "She's not a licensed pilot and has very little [experience] flying an aircraft."
The woman radioed for help, and a short time later, she was forced to make an emergency landing because the plane ran out of fuel and one of the engines failed.
Police scrambled to get a local pilot in the air and in radio contact with the inexperienced flyer, Vogel said.
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"We got him up into an aircraft and he felt it was easier for him to give her instructions, for him to determine for instance, her speed in the air and to instruct how to successfully land that aircraft," Vogel told WLUK.
Eventually, the pilot was able to coach the woman into landing the plane — though witnesses said it was touch-and-go on the way down.
"I saw them come down, and then like the nose of the plane just bumped, then they kind of flew back up and then they landed," Zoe Hirthe, who lives nearby, told the station.
The 81-year-old man was rushed to a local hospital, where he died. Authorities said he had an existing medical condition that caused him to pass out.
The woman was treated for minor injuries.
Vogel called the woman a hero for managing to land safely while her husband lay dying next to her.
"It was a very difficult situation with her husband unconscious next to her," he told WLUK. "It took a lot to collect her thoughts and get that thing landed."
The FAA was investigating the incident, the station said.