Darren Harrison Wiki
A Florida man named Darren Harrison with nothing but a pair of flip-flops and a background in interior design has been named as the hero passenger who miraculously landed a jet on his own.
The guy, identified by family as Darren Harrison, was flying back to Lakeland from a fishing excursion in the Bahamas when the pilot of the Cessna Grand Caravan became incapacitated and unintelligible on Tuesday afternoon.
Harrison is currently employed with Sunshine Interiors, a family-owned interior design firm in Florida, as a lead commercial and residential flooring specialist. He worked in the flooring sector for 16 years after being introduced to it by his father, and now works on commercial projects all across Florida, according to his employers.
Matthew Harrison told the New York Post that his older cousin Darren, vice president of Sunshine Interiors, was going home to his pregnant wife after a fishing trip in the Bahamas.
Darren Harrison is 39 years old.
Landed Plane When Pilot Collapsed
Matthew expressed his disbelief that his own relative was responsible for the amazing landing. Matthew told the Post: “I was like, ‘Wait, that’s my cousin?”
NEW: CNN identifies Darren Harrison (right) as the passenger who landed a Cessna Caravan at PBI when his pilot became incapacitated.
Air traffic controller & flight instructor Robert Morgan (left) helped guide Harrison “one step at a time” using a photo of the Caravan cockpit. pic.twitter.com/9JhUhViezK
— Pete Muntean (@petemuntean) May 11, 2022
Glenn Harrison, Darren’s uncle, said he knew his nephew could hold his cool under pressure. He said: “That was insane. I’m impressed too, he was so calm, I’ve never known him to be that calm before,”
Glenn added: “I know he was probably scared to death but it doesn’t surprise me him doing what he did, He’s pretty good about keeping his cool, it doesn’t surprise me he kept his composure, followed directions and everything turned out great.”
Matthew said he texted Darren’s wife to express his admiration for his cousin. He said: “I messaged his wife and said, ‘Will you reach out to him and let him know I’m super impressed and proud of him, that’s amazing,'”
How Did Darren Harrison Fly The Plane?
After his pilot was rendered unconscious, Harrison acted quickly.
As he struggled with the navigation system, he was helped by Robert Morgan, an air traffic controller, who printed out a picture of the cockpit controls to take the passenger through the procedures of flying and landing the plane.
Morgan said: “I just feel like it was probably meant to happen,”
“I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land,” WBPF reported.
He added: “Before I knew it, he was like, ‘I’m on the ground. How do I turn this thing off?'”
Landing a plane when you’re the passenger? #DarrenHarrison has certainly had his! A story that’s taken our spirits to new heights this morning. What a hero ✈️ #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix #PassengerLandsPlane #PlaneLanding pic.twitter.com/rea1xBlHLw
— Weetabix (@weetabix) May 12, 2022
Morgan claimed that when he landed, he dashed out to greet Harrison, and the two hugged on the tarmac.
He said: “It felt really good to help somebody, and he told me that he was going to go home tonight to see his pregnant wife.”
Why Did The Pilot Become Unconscious?
The pilot, who remained unconscious, was eventually transferred to the hospital with an unexplained ailment. His current state is unclear. According to CNN, tiny turboprop planes like the Cessna 208 Caravan are not uncommon to fly with only one pilot, especially when the flights are private.
An FAA representative said the incident was being investigated and stated the pilot had a potential medical concern but did not elaborate on his health.