Hero Passenger Who Safely Landed Plane With No Experience Speaks Out

TODAY

It was a nightmare situation. Two passengers were on board an airplane headed to Florida from the Bahamas. Then, mid-air, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, the pilot became ill and incoherent. The passengers on board had no flying experience.

One of the passengers, 39-year-old Darren Harrison, had nightmares about this exact situation before it actually happened to him. Were the nightmares a premonition? 

Harrison and another passenger were on board the airplane. Takeoff went smoothly, but mid-flight, the pilot became incoherent. Harrison had no experience flying a plane, but he knew if he didn’t do something, the plane would crash and they would all die.

Harrison moved the pilot over and took control of the airplane. He made an emergency call and spoke to air traffic controller Christopher Flores, who also happened to be a flight instructor. Flores was able to help Harrison safely land the airplane at the Palm Beach International Airport.

Harrison and the other passenger were not injured in any way, but after landing the plane, it hit Harrison what had happened. He knew it was a life or death situation and that he had miraculously survived.

Now, Harrison is speaking out about this experience. He sat down with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie for an exclusive interview where he explained what he was thinking mid-flight. He said, “By the time I had moved forward to the front of the airplane, I realized that we had now gone into a dive at a very fast rate. All I saw, when I came up the front, was water out the right window, and I knew it was coming quick. Very, very quickly. At that point, I knew if I didn’t react, we would die.”

After stopping the plane from diving towards the ocean, Harrison saw the coastline of Florida in front of him. He said, “When I was flying and saw the state of Florida, at that second, I knew, I’m going to land there. I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. I don’t know how it’s going to happen. But I’m going to have to land this airplane, because there is no other option.”

Watch the video below to hear more about this incredible story.