Woman Lands Helicopter After Pilot Lost Consciousness More Than 1,000 Feet In The Air
A newly engaged couple had quite the bonding experience while celebrating their engagement in Hawaii.
Adam Barnett and Carli McConaughy, from Joliet, Illinois were on vacation in Hawaii. They got engaged on Saturday, and just a few days later they decided to end their trip with a helicopter tour of the island Oahu. While viewing the incredible landscape, McConaughy noticed that the pilot appeared unconscious.
“About 25 minutes into the flight, Carli looks back at me and starts pointing to the pilot,” Barnett told Inside Edition. “I look over, and the pilot had lost consciousness.”
For the first few moments, McConaughy didn’t take it seriously.
“At first I thought he was playing a bad trick on us, and when I realized he wasn’t waking up, I didn’t know what to do,” McConaughy told WTKR.
The helicopter was nosediving towards the ocean with no chance of slowing down.
“She looks back and says, ‘What am I supposed to do?’” Barnett told InsideEdition. “I yelled out, ‘Just pull up, pull up!’”
That’s when McConaughy jumped into action, grabbed the control and pulled the controls upwards to slow down their landing.
Barnett told WTKR that the sound of the helicopter falling out of the sky was “one of the loudest things [he] can ever remember.”
The three passengers crash landed into shallow waters, but they weren’t out of the clear yet. The water was rising, and they had to escape and pull the pilot out of the chopper. Inside Edition said nearby kayakers and Coast Guard personnel assisted in the rescue.
The pair are grateful to be alive, but they did suffer injuries. Barnett is nursing a dislocated wrist while McConaughy’s foot is seriously injured.
A teen also had quite a heroic flight recently.
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Taraska was excited to be taking her first solo flight. But moments after being in the air, the plane had a mishap – the right main wheel fell off.
“I was just petrified, I was thinking about all of the bad things that could’ve happened; I was thinking about how my parents were on the ground, and I knew that they were watching,” Taraska told Inside Edition.
She was able to keep circling the plane around the Beverly Regional Airport in Massachusetts as her flight instructor, John Singleton, coached her through the 30 minute ordeal.
“You’re doing a great job flying the airplane,” Singleton tells Taraska on the radio. “Keep doing what you’re doing. We’re gonna take our time here. We’ve got plenty of time, you’ve got plenty of fuel, we’ve got plenty of daylight.”
And she did stay calm and cool. Taraska landed the plane and walked away with no injuries. But that doens’t mean the teen didn’t feel the fear creep in.
“I just felt my heart sink,” she told media at a press conference.
But as a pilot, they must be ready for eveyrthing. And Taraska proved she’s prepared and capable of have sound thinking and quick problem solving skills.
“I just knew I had to fly the plane,” she said. “I panicked a little bit, but you have to have confidence in your ability.”
One might think that that first solo flight full of mishaps would have deterred the young pilot. But not Taraska. Days later she was back on the runway.
“I’m not nervous right now,” she said preparing for her flight. “I don’t know how I’m gonna feel once I’m up there, but I’m hopeful everything’s going to be fine.”
Taraska was accompanied by her instructor Singleton during the flight. They both walked through a pre-flight check to ensure the plane was in working order.
The next flight was a success. Taraska told Inside Edition the experience very “freeing.”
“It feels amazing,” she said of being back up in the air. “It feels really freeing.”
By Michaé Baisden
Source: Inside Edition