Florida’s Darren Harrison Named Hero Who Landed Solo Plane

The hero passenger who miraculously landed alone on a plane has been identified as a 39-year-old man from Florida armed with nothing but a pair of flip flops and a background in interior design.

The man, identified by his family as Darren Harrison, was returning home to Lakeland from a fishing trip to the Bahamas on Tuesday afternoon when the pilot flying the Cessna Grand Caravan suddenly became “incapable” and “incoherent”.

The soon-to-be married dad, who is currently a vice president at Sunshine Interiors, sprang into action and radioed for help.

“I have a serious situation here about my pilot,” the passenger-turned-airman on the flight said, according to audio posted by LiveATC.net.

“He’s inconsistent, no idea how to fly the plane but I’m sticking with 9,100.”

Harrison declined interviews with local media, but his cousin, Matthew Harrison, told the Post he was shocked to learn his relative was behind the heroic landing.

“I was like, ‘Wait, that’s my cousin?'” Matthew, 37, said over the phone.

Robert Morgan (left) was the part-time air traffic controller and flight instructor who coached Darren Harrison (right) during the flight and landing,
Robert Morgan

“It was crazy. I’m impressed too, he was so calm, I’ve never experienced him so calm before.

Matthew said he was “super proud” and “super impressed” after learning what his cousin had done and said his pregnant wife couldn’t believe her husband had managed to do it.

“I messaged his wife and said, ‘Do you want to contact him and let him know I’m super impressed and proud of him, that’s amazing,'” Matthew said.

Airplane in the sky.
“I have a serious situation here with my pilot,” Darren Harrison said during the flight.
WPBF
Airplane landing.
Robert Morgan did his best to calm Darren Harrison down as he explained how to slow the plane down and start preparing for a landing.
WPBF

“She said, ‘I know it’s not like a phone call you expect to get…’ when he [told her what happened] she said, ‘What did you do?’ “recalls Matthew with a laugh.

“He’s definitely outgoing, loves the outdoors, has always been a hunter and he’s a great guy. He loves everything.

Robert Morgan, the air traffic controller and part-time flight instructor who coached Harrison through the flight and landing, told the ‘Today’ show that the unlikely pilot was his “best student of all time.

Airplane landed.
Darren Harrison radioed Robert Morgan and told him he was on the ground at Palm Beach International Airport.
WPTV via AP

“The pilot was slumped over the controls, then they pushed him back, they got him out of his seat, then they had to get on the controls and pull the plane out of the dive that he was. in,” Morgan told the outlet.

He did his best to keep Harrison calm as he explained how to slow the plane down and start preparing for a landing.

“You look awesome, you’re kinda fast, what I want you to do is grab the throttle, just pull it back a bit because we need you slowed down,” recalls Morgan.

Darren Harrisson.
Darren Harrison’s cousin said he was “super proud” and “super impressed”.

The plane briefly disappeared from radar but within 10 seconds Harrison radioed Morgan and told him he was on the ground at Palm Beach International Airport.

“My heart kind of sank and I was like just thinking, ‘Thank God,'” Morgan said.

Glenda Watson, whose husband, Christopher Watson, works for Harrison, said her husband told her everything when he got home from work on Wednesday.

Robert Morgan.
Robert Morgan said Darren Harrison was his “greatest student ever”.
WPBF

“He said ‘The boss had to land a plane, he’s never flown a plane in his life,'” Watson told the Post.

“I think he took everyone by surprise, but he saved his life and whoever was on board…nothing but God who guided him with that plane.”

She said Harrison even went to the office on Wednesday after the thrilling ordeal, but left early in the day.

“I don’t blame him, I would be leaving too early to go hold my wife,” Watson said.

“I bet you he won’t be fishing for a minute.”

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