Pilot who became sick in flight dies after passenger lands plane

Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM
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KIRMINGTON, England, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The man who landed a light plane in England after the pilot became mortally ill said Wednesday he "hadn't a clue" how to do it.

John Wildey got the plane to the ground Tuesday evening at Humberside Airport in Lincolnshire under guidance from instructors on the ground, the BBC reported. The pilot, who became sick during the flight, later died.

Wildey described his landing as "sort of a controlled crash." But Ray Murray, one of the instructors, said he made a "good landing" considering the circumstances.

"I hadn't a clue what to do to get down," Wildey said.

Once the airport learned the pilot of the small plane had become too sick to function, it brought in two instructors to help guide his passenger. Wildey said he was strictly a passenger until he had to take the controls.

"He didn't know the layout of the airplane, he didn't have lights on so he was absolutely flying blind as well," Murray said. "I think he'd flown once before as a passenger but never flown an airplane before."

The plane had taken off from Sandtoft Airport about 25 miles away.

Officials said they do not know yet what caused the pilot's collapse and death. An autopsy was to be performed Thursday.

The pilot's family asked that his name not be released

Richard Tomlinson, a pilot and friend of both men in the plane, said the pilot was very experienced. He told the BBC that Wildey is "nothing short of a hero" for the landing.

Humberside Airport closed roads around the field and had firetrucks and emergency workers standing by. Two commercial flights, one from Aberdeen, Scotland, and the other from Amsterdam, were delayed by the emergency.

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