Blinded pilot meets man who helped him land

An amateur pilot guided to the ground by the RAF after suffering a stroke and going blind at 15,000 feet today met the man who helped him land safely.

Jim O’Neill, 65, of Marks Tey, Essex, made a mayday call on October 31 last year while flying a Cessna over North Yorkshire on a solo flight from Glasgow to Colchester, Essex.

RAF controllers scrambled a jet, whose crew guided Mr O’Neill down to nearby RAF Linton-on-Ouse.

Today Mr O’Neill was flown back to the RAF base to meet Wing Commander Paul Gerrard, who flew alongside the Cessna in a Tucano T1 turboprop and helped guide the plane down by giving instructions over the radio.

In an emotional reunion on the runway, Mr O’Neill thanked Mr Gerrard and said: “Today is very special because it’s the first time I’ve met Paul, the first time I’ve seen him really.

“I owe him a great deal of gratitude.”

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