You may have heard the dramatic story about Darren Harrison, 39, who on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, was forced to land a single-engined plane when the pilot became incapacitated.
Harrison, who had never flown a plane before, was returning home from a fishing trip in the Bahamas (a 500 km or 300-mile journey) when he was forced to take over the plane’s controls after the pilot became incoherent.
Harrison, along with another passenger, were just enjoying the flight in the backseat when the pilot called back stating he wasn’t feeling well.
As Harrison moved forward to see what was happening, the plane entered a steep dive as the pilot lost control. With the ocean in front of him, Harrison slowly pulled back on the plane’s controls and brought the plane to an even keel.
The two were able to maneuver the pilot into the back seat and using a plane headset, Harrison was able to contact a flight controller, who coincidentally also happened to be a part-time flight instructor.
Bobby Morgan helped Harrison guide the plane to a landing strip in Florida without the aid of GPS, and despite coming in too fast and wing flaps not working, Harrison had a smooth and successful landing.
But there is more to this story, according to Aleteia, a Catholic news site.
In an interview with Savannah Guthrie for NBC’s Today show, Harrison shared how he believed the ‘hand of God’ helped him land that plane.
“I was pretty calm and collected the whole time, because I knew it was a life-or-death situation. Either you do what you have to do to control the situation or you’re gonna die. And that’s what I did,” Harrison said. “In my mind I knew I wasn’t going to die … Today is not my day. I knew I was going to land this airplane.”
But equally astonishing is what he told Guthrie prior to the interview. Harrison is normally not a calm guy, and because of that had started regularly reading his Bible and doing Bible studies in order to gain some peace and tranquility in his life.
And that peace helped him maneuver this terrifying ordeal.
But this wasn’t the only miracle. After he landed, Harrison uttered a prayer for the pilot:
“I said the biggest prayer I’ve ever said in my life … It was a thankful prayer for the safety and everything that had happened. But the last part of the prayer, and the strongest part, was for the guy in the back. Because I knew it was not a good situation.”
The pilot, who had suffered a tear in his aorta, also miraculously survived. Even Guthrie agreed that the pilot’s survival was “a miracle right there.”
Aleteia adds that a cardiologist said that survival from such tears is difficult even in the best of circumstances. He said that 50% of the people who suffer from this condition die before they ever make it to the hospital and for those who do, 50% die if they do not receive a proper diagnosis and treatment within 24 hours.
“It was the hand of God that was on that plane,” Harrison told Guthrie.
And when Guthrie added “and on you”, Harrison responded with “Yeah, Absolutely. So that’s the only thing I can attribute it to.”
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
The peace of God which passes all understanding is best described as the peace that defies understanding. Like having a sense of peace, when your pilot collapses as you are flying over the ocean.
In the midst of overwhelming and terrifying situations, the Holy Spirit will give us peace to guard our minds and emotions, allowing us to make the right decisions in trying times.