Helen Collins, the 80-year-old woman who landed her husband’s plane after he died of an apparent heart attack, remained calm throughout the ordeal even as she ran out of fuel, audio recordings released today reveal.
Collins tried to joke with those in the control tower and Robert and Cathy Vukanovic, pilots who scrambled their own plane to help guide Collins to the ground safely, the 45-minute long conversation shows, Fox News reported.
“Hi Helen, this is Cathy,” Vukanovic said.
“Hi Cathy, hell of a place to be,” Collins responded.
“Ok, this is going to be a little bit of a flight lesson, but you'll enjoy it,” Robert Vukanovic said after he took to the sky.
Collins declared an emergency after her 81-year-old husband, John, collapsed at the controls.
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She had taken a few lessons in the past, and flown hundreds of hours with her husband, but didn’t have a license, The Associated Press said.
Collins appeared to have a good understanding of her airplane, saying at one point she was worried about the fuel in right engine, ABC News said.
"I've got to land pretty quickly. My gas gauge shows next to nothing," Collins said, according to ABC News. "My right engine is out."
Collins fractured vertebrae in the hard landing that broke the nose gear, but is expected to make a full recovery.
“Everybody is so proud of her,” the couple’s son, Richard Collins, told ABC.
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