Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies - - Columbia, South Carolina

Passenger lands plane in Fla. after pilot dies

FORT MYERS, Fla.(AP) - A passenger landed a twin-engine plane at Southwest Florida International Airport after the pilot died in flight, saving five people.

Federal Aviation Administration officials say the pilot died after takeoff from Marco Island Executive Airport Sunday. The plane was on autopilot and climbing passed 10,000 feet at the time.

The passenger who took the controls has been licensed for single-engine planes for 20 years, but isn't certified to fly the King Air plane, a large luxury model.

To instruct him, an air traffic controller called a friend in Connecticut who is rated to fly the King Air aircraft. The plane landed safely in about 15 to 20 minutes.

The plane had been headed to Jackson, Miss.

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