Passenger lands plane: British passenger gets help from airport officials

Passenger lands plane: After the pilot of a small plane became ill, a passenger with no flying experience safely landed it at a British airport.

Richard McCarthy, PA/AP
A passenger with no flying experience landed this Cessna 172 light aircraft at Humberside Airport, near Grimsby, England, Oct. 9, after the pilot was taken ill.

A passenger with no flying experience safely landed a light airplane at a British airport after the pilot became incapacitated, officials said Wednesday.

The plane, carrying two people, 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 thump, with some witnesses saying sparks came off the front of it.

Rob Murray, one of the flight instructors, said the passenger had never flown a plane before and had done a "remarkable job" given the circumstances.

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

The passenger was unhurt but the pilot later died, police said. An inquest will be carried out to establish what caused his death. Their names have not been released.

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