6:37 AM PDT, May 22, 2022
The pilot who lost consciousness while flying a nine-seat Cessna with two passengers on board earlier this month has been identified.
The pilot, Kenneth Allen, 64, suffered an aortic dissection, or a tear in his aorta, which is the same thing that killed John Ritter nearly 20 years ago.
Incredibly, one of those passengers, 39-year-old Darren Harrison, managed to land the plane safely with zero flying experience.
Dr. Nishant Patel, Allen’s cardiothoracic surgeon, says landing the plane was not the only miracle that day, as surviving an aortic dissection with delayed medical care is extremely rare.
Harrison later explained the moment he knew something was the wrong with the pilot on the “Today” show.
“[He] said, ‘Guys, I gotta tell you, I don’t feel good.” I said, ‘what’s wrong?’ He said, ‘I got a headache and I’m fuzzy, and I just don’t feel right.” I said, ‘what do we need to do?’ and at that point he didn’t respond at all. he was already done,” he recalled.
Patel told Inside Edition that when his patient said he felt fuzzy, that was the exact moment the tear occurred.
Patel says Allen is recovering well and sees no reason he can’t fly again soon.