Passengers Land Plane After Pilot Dies Midair over Miami

Not to name any names, but some of us here at Riptide Central are none too fond of the ol' "airplane travel" and generally consume enough drugs to kill Keith Richards before we board any airborne vehicles.

It's stories like this that fuel the phobia, even with a happy ending: A pilot croaked midair over Miami this weekend and the passengers had to land the plane.

Around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, a two-engine turboprop carrying four people from Jackson, Mississippi, to Marco Island crossed into Miami airspace when trouble struck, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. A passenger on the plane radioed in to Miami air traffic controllers to say the pilot had died and the plane was gaining altitude.

Two quick-thinking Miami controllers -- one with extensive piloting experience -- talked the passengers through turning off the aircraft's autopilot and rerouted other planes in the area. One passenger (who, to be fair, did have some experience flying much smaller planes) then safely guided the aircraft into Fort Myers International.

Pass the narcotics, please.

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