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U.S. Bomber Pilot Helps Save Flight With 150 Aboard After Pilot Suffers Heart Attack

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Is there anything more badass than the U.S. military? Nope, not really. Even when they’re not on the battlefield, our military’s men and women are doing incredibly badass things, like saving 150 peoples’ lives.

On a flight home from a vacation with his family, B-1B Lancer pilot Capt. Mark Gongol noticed the plane’s engines were powered down to idle. Shortly after, the plane began to descend and turn to the right. Flight attendants began requesting a doctor’s assistance over the PA system, and at first, Gongol believed there was a passenger in first class with a medical emergency. Eventually, a call went out for “any non-revenue pilots on board.” It was then that Gongol realized the pilot was the patient with a medical emergency, so he immediately rang his call button and headed for the cockpit.

From there, Gongol joined the first officer as she attempted to take control of the aircraft.

From Air Force Space Command:

Arriving at the flight deck, Gongol saw four flight attendants and two passenger nurses assembling a make-shift bed, medical kits were strewn across the ground and the captain of the aircraft was seated in his chair, eyes dilated, sweaty, clammy and disoriented. Gongol immediately thought the pilot was suffering some serious cardiac trauma.

“After they moved the pilot, I was asked by the first officer, ‘are you a pilot,’ which was quickly followed with ‘what do you fly,'” said Gongol. “I knew she was in a serious situation and that question gave her five seconds to judge if I would be useful. I also had about five seconds to asses her, ‘was she panicking, or was she OK to fly the aircraft?’ We both finished our silent assessments, she made the right judgment and told me to close the door and have a seat.”

The plane was diverted to Omaha, and during the flight, Gongol helped solve hundreds of issues with the first officer. Once they landed, Gongol assisted in taxiing the plane based off of his experiences of landing at the airport before pilot training.

The plane’s original captain is recovering and has reached out to Gongol to thank him for his actions.

I fucking love America.

[via Air Force Space Command]

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Bogey Wells

Bogey Wells is a Senior Freelance Writer for TFM News and a former summer pledge intern at TFMHQ. His Spotify playlists are pure garbage. Email:

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