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Lands plane on a wing and a prayer
Teenager Andrea Winkler found herself in the middle of a real Iife nightmare when her father had
a heart attack and died right next to
her — while he was piloting their
The terrified 18-year-old never had a flying lesson, yet had to take charge as A the plane hurtled toward the ground
from 3,000 feet.
"Help me, my dad's collapsed, and he isn't flying this plane anymore!" panicky
Andrea shrieked to air traffic controllers.
Incredibly, the brave teen landed safe and sound a short while later - with help from ground control.
"It was like they were with me in the cockpit," re-called Andrea.
"Without them, I never would have made it.
"At one point the plane started nosing toward the ground. I had seen Papa land plenty of times and knew I had to pull the nose up.
"But it was only when two flight instructors spoke to me that I was sure I could do it.
"They told me to turn the stick this way and that way. They were constantly telling me not to
worry, that it was going to be O.K.
"I just grabbed hold of
the controls and asked for the Lord to help me.'
The midair drama occurred as Andrea and her 56-year-old father were in the middle of a 200-mile
flight from Germany to Austria. "We were chatting, then My Dad collapsed and every-
.thing became a blur," Andrea recalled. "I think I was crying. but I can't remember much.
Andrea was amazingly calm under the circumstances, said Siegert Hop-pee one of the flight instructors who guided her over the radio.
0 LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name (Isaiah 25:la).
You are worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power (Revelation 4:11a).
Emergency crews were on standby as the tiny, single-engine TB-10 aircraft came gradually down to the runway in Linz, Austria.
They knew the high school girl had never taken a flying lesson and were prepared for the worst.
"She reacted profession ally and followed instructions exactly- he declared.
"We gave her very precise instructions about what to do. how to throttle back and turn the aircraft around. We were very methodical. like you would be for someone getting into a car for the first time."
'She did as she was told. and although the touchdown was bumpy, she emerged unscathed." added Hopper.
Tragically Andrea's dad was beyond help. Para-medics could only pull_ his body from the cockpit.
Airport officials were amazed at Andrea's courage. A spokesman said. "She was a real heroine. Imagine how difficult it was to fly the plane with her dead father next to .her"
Andrea, back home with her family in Vilsbiburg, Bavaria, said her father would have been proud. She added: "I will never get over losing him but I do not think he suffered too much. If he could have planned it. there'd be nothing he'd have wanted more than to die in the air" r —JOHN COOKE
HEART-BROKEN HERO: Andrea recovers after landing the plane as rescuers take care of her dad's body.
Lands plane on a wing and a prayer Article from "Hallelujah!"