A brave light aircraft passenger who was flying blind has been praised after landing the plane with no lights after the pilot fell ill.
The daring passenger, named only as John, was guided to safety by two flying instructors who had been called in to help land the aircraft at Humberside Airport on Tuesday night.
The passenger circled in the aircraft before landing at the fourth attempt.
Tragically, police today confirmed the pilot died later in the evening. They are not treating the death as suspicious.
Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the airport after the pilot collapsed and a distress call was made from the light aircraft, which had taken off from Sandtoft Airfield, 25 miles away.
Flying instructor Roy Murray (pictured), who works at a flying school based at the airport, said: “It was a co-ordinated effort. Myself, air traffic control and the RAF rescue helicopter were keeping an eye on him.”
Roy, who has 30 years experience teaching flying, said: “The passenger didn’t know the layout of the aeroplane, he didn’t have lights on so he was absolutely flying blind. He made quite a good landing, actually.
“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.
“When I think about it, the lad has done extremely well with no lights, in the dark, no experience, flying a strange aeroplane, a strange area. He must have been as nerve-wracked as we were.”
He added: “John is very lucky but a very competent person really, he didn’t panic at all, we kept him calm. I’ve never met him but I’d like to meet him just to say well done.”
A post mortem is due to be undertaken following the pilot’s death, which is not being treated as suspicious. It is likely to take place tomorrow afternoon and the results will determine whether or not it is necessary to prepare a file for the Coroner.
Humberside Police have announced they will not be confirming the pilot’s name in accordance with his family’s wishes.