An Air Force pilot was on Fox and Friends this morning to tell the story of how he helped land a United airliner safely after one of the pilots suffered a heart attack. The Boeing 737 was heading from Des Moines to Denver on Dec. 30 with nearly 160 people aboard.


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Capt. Mark Gongol said about 30 minutes into the flight he could feel the aircraft descending and the engines idling. Then, a flight attendant asked passengers if there were any nurses or doctors onboard.

A short time later, another call went out for pilots and Gongol headed to the cockpit to help. A nurse on the plane helped with a defibrillator and the pilot survived.

Meanwhile, Gongol helped the female co-pilot as she guided the plane down for an emergency landing in Omaha.

Steve Doocy asked what it was like when Gongol suddenly appeared in the cockpit to help.

"There was about a five second interview. She said, who are you? I said, I'm a pilot. I was trying to be to the point. She said, what do you fly? I said, I'm an Air Force pilot. I flew B-1's. So she said, OK, close the door, have a seat, we're going to Omaha," he recalled.

Gongol then worked the radios for the co-pilot and helped with the checklist. Thought he'd never flown a 737 before, he said he caught on quickly.

"An airplane's an airplane. The controls are pretty intuitive. Things are laid out pretty well. It's not difficult to tell what's what or what you need to do. It's like going from driving a small sedan to driving a pickup truck. Steering wheel is still a steering wheel. Throttle is still a throttle," said Gongol, praising the co-pilot as cool, calm and very professional.

He emphasized that she did all the flying, he just helped out. Gongol credited United for giving everyone onboard a hotel for that night, a free airfare and also sending him a letter of thanks.

Watch the full interview above.


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