Stricken Caravan Pilot Identified as Kenneth Allen Has ‘Miracle’ Recovery

Surgeon talks about treating the pilot of the airplane that a passenger landed last week in Florida.

Pilot Kenneth Allen and his wife, Stanna. [Photo: Kenneth Allen]

The pilot who lost consciousness during a flight from the Bahamas to Florida last week, resulting in a passenger having to land the airplane, has been identified as Kenneth Allen, a 64-year-old grandfather of six. And hospital officials say he is lucky to be alive.

“The story is miracle after miracle,” said Dr. Nishant Patel, the cardiothoracic surgeon who treated Allen at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center on May 10.

Dr. Nishant Patel

In a press conference Thursday, Patel said Allen suffered an acute aortic dissection, which is a tear of the inner and middle layers of the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The life-threatening condition can compromise blood flow to other organs and lead to the aorta rupturing, he said.

In an operation that lasted from late afternoon to around midnight, Patel said he replaced the ascending part of the patient’s aorta. He said Allen, who was discharged Monday, is “resting comfortably” and is making a remarkable recovery. 

Darren Harrison, the passenger who landed the Cessna Caravan safely at Palm Beach International Airport (KBPI) with the help of air traffic controllers, told the Today show’s Savannah Guthrie on Monday that he was concerned about Allen, who told him he wasn’t feeling well before becoming unresponsive.

“I knew it was not a good situation,” Harrison said.

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter