US & World

How A Pilot's Death Created Heroes

When the pilot of his plane died after takeoff last year, passenger Doug White took control and landed it with the help of air traffic controllers.

It was Easter Sunday last year and Joe Cabuk, the pilot of a chartered plane carrying Doug White of Archibald, La., and his family, suffered a heart attack and died soon after takeoff in Florida.

White is certified to fly single-engine planes, but not the twin-engine turboprop he was aboard — but he took control and, with the help of air traffic controllers in Miami and Fort Myers, landed the aircraft safely.

Those air traffic controllers won the Archie League Medal of Safety Award, given by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. When they receive that award Monday, Doug White will be there. Host Liane Hansen speaks with Brian Norton, one of the air traffic controllers who helped White land the plane.

Copyright 2010 National Public Radio.

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