An elderly woman, who had absolutely no flying experience, somehow phenomenally managed to land a twin-engine plane with low fuel after her pilot had suffered a heart attack in the middle of the flight.
The incident happened Monday evening around 5:05 p.m. local time, about six miles south of the Midwest town of Sturgeon Bay, Milwaukee at 2,300 ft, while the couple was flying from their second home in Marco Island, Florida, to Wisconsin.
The 80-year-old first-time pilot, Helen Collins, had no other option than to take control of the aircraft mid-air for the safety of both.
In the spur-of-the-moment after her medically unfit husband lost full control over the plane, the brave woman somehow managed to keep the aircraft airborne for nearly an hour and later with the help and instructions of an air traffic team, she managed to land it safely at the runway of the Door County Cherryland Airport in Wisconsin.
Her husband, John, 81, suffered a heart attack amid the flight while piloting the jet and was later pronounced dead shortly after the plane landed, while Collins suffered minor injuries and was treated at a nearby hospital.
She's not a licensed pilot and has very little on flying an aircraft, Door County Sheriff Terry Vogel, said, according to Daily Mail.
We're very proud of her for doing what she did. It was a very difficult situation with her husband unconscious next to her. It took a lot to collect her thoughts and get that thing landed, Vogel praised the elderly plucky woman for her heroic stroke.
Robert Vuksanovic, the pilot who helped Mrs. Collins said: She wanted to know if I was confident in her confidence, he said. I said if you're confident then I'm confident, I think we can do this.
He said despite the fact that one engine had already run out of the fuel, the other was on the verge of and the nose-wheel also collapsed on landing, Mrs. Collins kept her cool and landed safe down the runway about 1000 feet, the Telegraph reported.
I can't even tell her how to run a computer, let alone land a plane. It was a very trying time. I thought I was going to lose them both, their son Richard Collins told ABC News.
Authorities said John was not keeping well since Thursday and had complained about his medical condition to his son over the phone.
He wasn't right. You could tell something was wrong. He said he had a sore neck. He had called me on the phone and asked me where I was, Richard said. I said I was at the airport waiting for him and he said he'd be there in 20 minutes. The next thing I knew, I saw the plane fly over the airport.
Mrs. Collins' son James, a pilot, who helped his mother via radio, told Associated Press how her mother was all calm, composed and super confident that she would manage it all on her own. At one point she didn't even want the wingman to go up, 'she said, don't you guys think I could do this on my own? Don't you have confidence in me?' She was calmer than everybody on the ground. She had it totally under control.
The amazing thing is she landed that plane on one engine, James said. I don't know if are a lot of trained pilots that could do that.
Everybody is proud of her, he said. I think she is a local hero for sure, he said.