While flying a plane, pilot Kenneth Allen had a medical emergency in the middle of his flight in which he passed out. His two passengers then managed to land the plane with assistance from an air traffic controller.
As Allen eagerly waits to be medically cleared to fly again, he sat down with NewsNation correspondent Xavier Walton for his first one-on-one interview since the incident.
“It’s unbelievable, Allen said. “I can’t believe I’m still alive.”
Allen said he feels very fortunate and thankful to be alive.
Just five minutes before he passed out on May 10, he recorded a video of him flying over the Atlantic at 12,000 feet.
“I’ve got a serious situation here,” his friend said over the radio to air traffic control. With zero flight experience, the friend landed the plane.
Allen escaped death and was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital once the plane landed. He was then transferred to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center where surgeons worked to repair an extensive tear in his aorta.
“It really is nothing short of a miracle that he was even able to get to us,” Dr. Nishant Patel said. “The tear involved the first part of the aorta, which is what necessitated the heart surgery. But then tear then also extended all the way down his aorta into his abdomen.”
FAA rules state if a pilot has a medical emergency, that pilot can’t fly again without being medically cleared by the administration. For clearance, Allen was given 60 days to provide all the paperwork from doctors regarding that death-defying incident and a detailed progress report from a vascular surgeon.
“I was laying on the floor here,” Allen said as he pointed to the floor of the aircraft cabin he nearly died in.
“I think about it, literally 20 times a day if not more,” he said. “There’s so many ‘ifs this happened, I wouldn’t be here. If that happened I wouldn’t be here,'”
Even after all that he’s been through, Allen is ready for takeoff, again. Allen said he has submitted everything he’s needed to to the FAA and is ready to roll.