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Legally Blind Passenger, 70, Lands Plane

November 16, 1986|Associated Press

UPLAND — A legally blind passenger in a private airplane guided the craft to a safe landing while the dying pilot apparently suffered a heart attack, police said Saturday.

"I don't know how he did it," commented Upland police Sgt. John Cannon, who said it was "what you call a miracle."

Police identified the 69-year-old passenger as Charles Law of Rancho Cucamonga. The owner and pilot, Harry W. Stiteler, 80, of San Juan Capistrano, died shortly after arrival at San Antonio Community Hospital on Friday afternoon. An autopsy was scheduled.

Brett Ray of Alta Loma, a former ambulance paramedic, said he and companion Eric Hayek of Pasadena were on approach to Cable Airport and watched the landing of a Cessna 150 in front.

"I watched the plane rolling (too far) down the runway," Ray said. "I figured something was wrong. I didn't know what. As I was landing, I heard the radio say, 'Please send some help. I think my friend, Harry, has had a heart attack.' "

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