Passenger lands plane at Humberside Airport after pilot falls ill

Flying instructor Roy Murray describing what he said to the passenger

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A passenger has landed an aeroplane at Humberside Airport after the pilot fell ill at the controls.

Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the airport after the pilot collapsed and a distress call was made from the light aircraft.

Two flying instructors were called in to advise the passenger how to bring the plane down.

One of them, Roy Murray, said the passenger had no flying experience and did a "remarkable job".

The passenger and pilot were the only people on board the aircraft, which took off from Sandtoft Airfield 25 miles (40km) away.

'Control room cheers'

Mr Murray, who works at a flying school based at the airport, said: "He made quite a good landing, actually.

"He didn't know the layout of the aeroplane, he didn't have lights on so he was absolutely flying blind as well.

"I think he'd flown once before as a passenger but never flown an aeroplane before."

Emergency services and the aircraft on the runway at Humberside Airport Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the airport

Mr Murray said he tried to keep the man calm as he talked him through the landing procedure.

"The last thing you want to do is panic, then all sorts of things can happen."

He said there were cheers in the airport control room as the plane landed safely on its fourth attempt.

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

"I think without any sort of talk down he would have just gone into the ground and that would have been the end of it."

'Heard crashing'

Stuart Sykes said he saw the aircraft land at about 19:50 BST.

"It came down with a bump, a bump, a bump, hit the front end down, I heard some crashing and it's come to a halt," he told BBC Look North.

"There were a few sparks and three or four crashes, that must have been the propeller hitting the floor.

"Then it uprighted again and it came to a stop."

Details of the pilot's condition have not been released.

The North Lincolnshire airport said a full emergency plan was put in place. Roads surrounding the airport were closed but have since reopened.

Two incoming flights from Aberdeen and Amsterdam were delayed while the aircraft was removed from the runway.

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