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Passenger praised for landing plane
A passenger who had never flown an aircraft before has been praised for making a safe emergency landing after the pilot became ill and unable to operate the controls.
Emergency services gathered at Humberside Airport, north Lincolnshire, yesterday evening after the passenger in the light aircraft had to land it with the help of two instructors from the ground.
Humberside Police said an investigation into what happened was under way , but it was too early to say what caused the pilot to become incapacitated .
The force said the passenger, who landed the aircraft safely, was not hurt.
A multi-agency emergency response was declared at 6.20pm as the plane, which is understood to have taken off from an airstrip 20 miles away, issued a mayday call as it approached the airport.
"Humberside International Airport put into operation their emergency plan," an airport spokesman said.
"The passenger flew over the airport a couple of times and then was talked down by two flight instructors, and the emergency services were waiting for them when he landed safely."
Although the landing was described as "heavy", it was said to be normal.
Some witnesses described the plane bumping on the runway and sparks coming off the front of it.
It is thought the pair, who have yet to be named, left a small airfield at Sandtoft, near Doncaster, on a flight training day.
Roy Murray, one of the flight instructors who helped the passenger land the plane, told the BBC the passenger had no flying experience and did a "remarkable job".
He said the passenger made quite a good landing in the circumstances, considering he had never flown a plane before and was "flying blind".
"It's a fantastic feeling, knowing I have achieved something and probably saved somebody's life," Mr Murray said.
"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."
A Humberside Police spokesman said: "The passenger in the aircraft sustained no injuries. The exact condition of the pilot is not known at this time.
"The police investigation is now under way. However, it is too early to speculate as to what caused the pilot to become incapacitated."