RAF guided blind pilot to safety
Friday 07 November 2008
A pilot who lost his sight flying a light aircraft back from a family holiday and had to be guided to safety by an RAF jet was seriously ill in hospital.
Solo pilot Jim O'Neill was taking the two-seat Cessna back from Scotland to Essex, when he was suddenly blinded over North Yorkshire.
It is reported that Mr O'Neill had a stroke mid-flight and blood at the back of his head put pressure on his optic nerves, immediately blinding him.
Mr O'Neill put in a mayday alert and attempted to land his plane at Full Sutton Airfield near York, but was unable to complete the manoeuvre even with the help of air traffic controllers.
A RAF team from nearby Linton-on-Ouse was scrambled and a Tucano T1 jet took off to find the aircraft and guided the stricken pilot to the ground.
Mr O'Neill, 65, with 18 years' flying experience, was taken to York Hospital before being transferred to Queen's Hospital in Romford, Essex. He is thought to be seriously ill in a brain unit at the hospital.
Mr O'Neill told the Daily Mirror from his hospital bed: "I should not be alive. I owe my life - and those of dozens of people I could have crash landed on - to the RAF. It was terrifying. Suddenly I couldn't see the dials in front of me".
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a qualified teache...
£50 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Teacher or L...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Y1 Teacher required for a So...