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Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Becomes Incapacitated; Southern Ukrainians Live Amidst Violence in War-Torn Villages; CDC: Share of COVID Deaths Among Vaccinated Growing. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 13:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: This story is what nightmares or action movies are made of. But it's very real. A passenger with no experience flying a plane was able to make this landing in Florida after the pilot became incapacitated.

CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, joins us now.

Pete, you're a pilot and a flight instructor. Put into perspective how incredible this is!

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It is incredible, Ana. Almost like something out of a movie, when you think about it.

This all came down to that hero air traffic controller who guided this plane to a safe landing. He just so happened to be a flight instructor himself. Ended up with a student pilot without having to step foot in the plane.

Listen to the air traffic control audio now. It's amazing!



UNIDENTIFIED PASSENGER: I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent and I have no idea how to fly the airplane. But maintain at 9100.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The voice you're hearing is not a pilot but a passenger radioing for help. Audio captured from live ATC details the communications between the plane, a Cessna Caravan, and the control tower at Fort Pierce in Florida.

CONTROL TOWER: Caravan, 333 Lima Delta, Roger, what's your position?

UNIDENTIFIED PASSENGER: I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.

MUNTEAN: Air traffic controller, Robert Morgan, was on break from working in the tower when his colleagues said he needed to come back, fast.

ROBERT MORGAN, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION & FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR: There's a passenger flying a plane that's not a pilot and the pilot incapacitated. So they said we need to try to help him land the plane.

MUNTEAN: Morgan is a 20-year veteran controller but also a certificated flight instructor with 1,200 hours flying experience.

CONTROL TOWER: What was the situation with the pilot?

UNIDENTIFIED PASSENGER: He is incoherent. He is out.

CONTROL TOWER: 333 Lima Delta, Roger. Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.

MUNTEAN: Controller Morgan had not flown this specific type of plane. So he pulled up this photo of the layout of the instrument panel and talked the passenger through it step by step.

MORGAN: I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just had to keep him calm, point him to the runway, and just tell him how to reduce the power so you can descend to land.

MUNTEAN: Data from Flight Aware shows the flights path. The first challenge to controllers, locating the flight and pointing the passenger-turned-pilot to the airport.

CONTROL TOWER: 333 Lima Delta, maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We're trying to locate you.


Have you guys located me yet? I can even get my nav screen to turn on. It has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?

CONTROL TOWER: 333 Lima Delta, Palm Beach, he's telling me you're about 20 miles east of Boca Raton. Just continue northbound over the beach and we'll try to get you some more further instructions.

MUNTEAN: Morgan's instruction paid off, guiding the flight to a landing at Palm Beach.

Aviation experts call it a remarkable feat that left other flights listening in stunned, including a commercial pilot waiting for takeoff.

AMERICAN 1845: Did you just say the passengers landed the airplane?

CONTROL TOWER: That's correct.

AMERICAN 1845: Oh my god. Great job.

CONTROL TOWER: No flying experience. We got a controller that worked them down that's a flight instructor.

MUNTEAN: After the landing, Morgan left the tower and went out to the ramp to meet his newest student pilot that he taught to land without ever getting in the plane.

MORGAN: I just feel like it was probably meant to happen.


CABRERA: What a great ending! Incredible story.

Pete, how long does it typically take to teach somebody to land?

MUNTEAN: It takes a long time to master, Ana. Usually, it takes about 20 hours of flight instruction to get somebody to their first solo flight. Essentially, this was a first solo.

It take hundreds or thousands of landings to get them perfectly buttery. Although, when you look at the video there, that is just so incredible. The landing right on the runway.

And then you have to consider all of the steps to get off the runway. Taxiing up, hitting the brakes, shutting down the engine. This pilot- turned-passenger -- passenger-turned-pilot, actually, had to be talked through all of that as well.

Pretty incredible.

CABRERA: What a hero. No pressure at all in that situation!


CABRERA: Pete Muntean, thank you for bringing us this story.

Now to the manhunt that gripped the nation for days. Murder suspect, Casey White, is now back in Alabama two days after his capture in Indiana.

Today, we're hearing the last words from the woman who helped him escape, former corrections officer, Vicky White. Police say she called 9-1-1 moments before they say she took her own life during this police chase.

Here is part of that 9-1-1 call.


VICKY WHITE, FORMER CORRECTIONS OFFICER: God -- the airbags are going off. Let's get out, run. (INAUDIBLE) -- the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hotel.


CABRERA: The sheriff in Alabama says he believes Vicky was basically the mastermind behind the jailbreak. An autopsy is now being done.

[13:39:19] Surrounded by shelling but refusing to leave. CNN is on the frontlines of the war in Ukraine where one mother won't flee until her son returns home.


CABRERA: Welcome back. We talk a lot about where the fighting is happening in Ukraine. But we can't forget these towns and cities are home to so many. And some people can't or won't leave, even though their homes have been reduced to rubble.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in southern Ukraine with the stories.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Both nothing and everything has changed here. The frontlines have barely moved on the road to the southern city of Kherson, the first Russia captured in the six weeks since we were last here.


PATON WALSH: But instead, since then, almost everything in between has been torn up by shelling that literally does not stop. Trapping people who physically cannot flee in the churn of a brutal stalemate.


Here in the village of Shevchenko are two neighbors both called Lyuba.


(text translation): This granny lives on the second floor. And she's learned quickly how to run.


PATON WALSH: We moved to the yard as the shells get closer.



(text translation): Oh, Lord, this is a nightmare.

PATON WALSH: Leonid still manages to get down to his wife's basement shelter.


PATON WALSH: She's installed a plank on the way here to help him rest.


PATON WALSH: "They used to get dressed up to go to bed. It was so cold down here." But mention leaving and she chuckles.



(text translation: I've got plans for tomorrow. Every day I go out, the goats are waiting for me. I'd sleep longer but there's shelling and the goats are asking for food. They are my children of war. That's what I call them.

PATON WALSH: Nights spent here have focused her hatred.


(text translation): Russian soldiers are just following orders. Putin I would cut into four pieces and scatter the pieces around the world.

PATON WALSH: Across the road is Valentina, alone. Shells always seem to just miss her.


(text translation): I was born in a time of war and will probably die in one.



(text translation): When I die, as my mother said, bury me in the garden. So, I can see what's happened here. Lord, how much more?

PATON WALSH: Overwhelmed, yet hauntingly eloquent.


(text translation): This house was smashed to clay. I'm left alone in four walls. Nothing anywhere. I cried to my dead husband to rise up and see what's happening.

Better to lie down at night and never get up. Neither see nor hear. Pity the people, the soldiers.

PATON WALSH: It's not so much that life goes on here but that it has nowhere else to go.


PATON WALSH: These men, selling cow's milk, although that's not what Leonid has been drinking.

"Hello to everyone," he says. "Forty times a day and night, they shell."

Barely a window is intact, shrapnel flying through the glass daily. Yesterday was Svetlana's turn, but she can't leave because she's waiting for her son to return from the war in Mariupol.


PATON WALSH: "Our children are all at war," she says. "My son is a prisoner. If he comes back and I have gone, it's like I've abandoned him. We wait, hope, worry he is alive and we will live."

On the road out of here, the shrapnel rises fiercely above the warm fields.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Shevchenko, Ukraine.


CABRERA: A new CNN analysis shows more vaccinated people are now dying of COVID. But there's something you can do to reduce your risks. We'll have more on that. Stay with us.



CABRERA: IPod, meet the Walkman. After 22 years, Apple announced it is discontinuing its last iPod model, the iPod Touch, a relic from the early 2000s.

The iPod ushered in a new era, giving people the power to put their music in their pocket. Apple says, for now, the iPod Touch will still be available, but only while supplies last.

A big update now on a health crisis stressing out a lot of parents and caregivers.

Baby formula maker, Abbott, says the Michigan plant it closed should be back up and running in the next two weeks and the products could be back on the shelves within six to eight weeks. All of that, of course, pending FDA approval.

And it can't come soon enough. A new report finds the crisis is getting worse. Right now, the average out-of-stock rate is 40 percent, meaning close to half of all baby formula is completely sold out.

For perspective, in the first half of last year, this number hovered in the 2 percent to 8 percent range.

And now to a new CNN analysis that finds the share of COVID deaths among vaccinated people is growing. But deaths were much lower for those who had been boosted.

CNN's Jacqueline Howard joins us now.

Jacqueline, break down these numbers for us.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, Ana, these numbers do show the benefit of getting your booster when you're eligible.

And here's what the numbers really show us. The analysis we did of CDC data found that, last year, in the second half of September, less than 25 percent of COVID deaths were among vaccinated people.

This year, between January and February, so during the Omicron wave, about 40 percent of deaths were among vaccinated people.

But keep in mind, less than one-third had gotten their booster. And also, this year, so far, seniors ages 65 and older account for the majority of these COVID deaths.

And I think there are three factors to keep in mind here, Ana. We know that, as time goes on, protection from your initial series of vaccine can wane. And that's why it's important to get your booster.

But here in the United States, the administration of booster shots, the uptick has been slow, leading to many people not having protection that they had from their initial series. And not getting their booster puts them at risk.


So this is just a reminder, Ana, to get your booster vaccine when you're eligible.

CABRERA: I just have 30 seconds, Jacqueline. But what about the second boosters? Is there evidence that that is effective?

HOWARD: It's interesting, Ana. FDA advisers are meeting this June, June 28th, to look at that data. And FDA official, Dr. Peter Marks, has said that we might see the rollout of a second booster this fall.

So we'll be keeping an eye on that in June.

CABRERA: We know you will keep us posted.

Jacqueline, thank you so much.

And that does it for us today. See you back here tomorrow, same time, same place. You can always find me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

And the news continues right after this.