On Tuesday night, a passenger with no prior flying experience landed a small plane at a British airport in Northeast England. The pilot allegedly cried out "mayday," before passing out and ultimately dying on the Sandtoft airfield.
Like a scene from a vacation movie gone wrong, the passenger, John Wildey, steadied the plane, circled the airport a couple of times until he had control, and then was talked down into a safe landing by flight instructors on the ground. Ron Murray, one of the instructor's who helped Wildey down, said Wildey did a surprisingly good job of landing the plane, and added, "It's a fantastic feeling, knowing I have achieved something and probably saved somebody's life."
Emergency services were waiting on the airfield, but were not needed as the plane landed with only a few bumps and sparks. As Wildey touched down, he couldn't find the brakes immediately and thought he was not going to be able to stop as he began to run out of runway. He described the experience as "a controlled crash, really."
The passenger was not in the controlled crash, but the same cannot be said for the deceased pilot. Police have begun to investigate the original pilot's cause of death.