The man who leapt into action and landed a plane earlier this week after his pilot passed out revealed to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie that he felt one surprising emotion amid the crisis: Calm.
In an exclusive interview with TODAY, Darren Harrison, who had no prior experience as a pilot, said that he didn’t really stress about the scary situation until the plane was safely on the ground.
“Somebody asked me the other day what my heart rate was, or what I thought my heart rate was, when all of that was going on, and I said ‘Probably in the 90s,’” Harrison, an interior designer, said. “And they said ‘What about when it was all over?’ And I said it was probably 160.”
Harrison, who is expecting a child with his wife this summer, said that during the landing, he had “no time to panic.”
Harrison sat down with Savannah in an exclusive interview about his experience. (TODAY) Harrison sat down with Savannah in an exclusive interview about his experience. (TODAY)
“By the time I stopped the plane, that’s when it hit me,” Harrison, 39, continued, as Savannah looked at him in awe. “I was pretty calm and collected the whole time because I knew it was a life or death situation. Either you do what you have to do to control the situation or you’re gonna die. And that’s what I did.”
Harrison’s full interview with Savannah will air on TODAY on Monday, May 16th.
Last week, Harrison and one other passenger were flying back from a fishing trip in the Bahamas when their pilot experienced a medical emergency and passed out. Harrison and his fellow flier were able to move the pilot and Harrison accessed the controls.
The entire incident was captured on LiveATC audio. Harrison can be heard talking to air traffic controllers, revealing how alarming the situation was.
“I’ve got a serious situation here, my pilot has gone incoherent,” Harrison said. “I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”
When asked what his position was, Harrison told controllers that he had “no idea.—AFP