The Last Hours of Their Lives

Written by Joseph A. Wellman

It has never happened in commercial aviation history. No airliner has ever lost both of its pilots for medical reasons. It finally happened on Marist Airlines Flight 212 when the flight lost the first officer to a severe case of food poisoning and, moments later, the captain to a stroke. Because both officers succumbed to their illnesses almost simultaneously, no emergency call to Air Traffic Control was ever made. To make matters worse, there were no dead heading crew members on board, nor military pilots or even an experienced private pilot. The only person on board with any flying experience was a fifty-three-year-old woman with just forty hours of flying. The question passengers, ATC, and Marist Airlines kept asking as she took control of the plane, would she be able to safely land the plane?

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