Passenger Lands Small Plane After Pilot Falls Ill - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Passenger Lands Small Plane After Pilot Falls Ill

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Passenger John Wildy, right, walks in the grounds at Sandtoft Airfield, Wednesday Oct. 9, 2013 after he landed a plane safely at Humberside Airport, near Grimsby, England, the previous night, following the pilot being taken ill. (AP Photo) Passenger John Wildy, right, walks in the grounds at Sandtoft Airfield, Wednesday Oct. 9, 2013 after he landed a plane safely at Humberside Airport, near Grimsby, England, the previous night, following the pilot being taken ill. (AP Photo)

LONDON (AP) - A passenger with no flying experience safely landed a small airplane at a British airport after the pilot became incapacitated, officials said Wednesday.

The pilot, the only other person aboard the aircraft, died soon after the plane came to a stop. The cause of death was not immediately known.

The plane issued a mayday call as it returned to the Sandtoft airfield in northeast England on Tuesday evening.

Officials at Humberside Airport, near the airfield, put emergency plans into place and successfully helped the passenger land the plane.

"The passenger flew over the airport a couple of times and then was talked down by two flight instructors, and the emergency services were waiting for them when he landed safely," the airport said in a statement.

The aircraft landed with a few bumps, with some witnesses saying sparks came off the front of it.

The passenger, John Wildey, said of the experience: "I suppose it was a controlled crash, really."

He added that he could not reach the brakes at first and thought he would not make it, but eventually managed to stop the plane.

Rob Murray, one of the flight instructors, said he was glad to have helped and that Wildey did a "remarkable job," given he had never flown a plane before.

"It's a fantastic feeling, knowing I have achieved something and probably saved somebody's life," Murray said.

Wildey was unhurt. Police said an inquest will be carried out to establish what caused the pilot's death.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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