Nightly News | May 26, 2011
>>> now we turn to a close call in the skies over colorado, when the pilot of a small plane became suddenly incapacitated and his front seat passenger who happened to be his wife, was forced to take over the controls. tonight, you'll hear the tapes of what it sounded like as this unfolded. our report from tom costello.
>> reporter: the dramatic homeants for a private pilot and his wife started with his unintelligible radio call to controllers.
>> reporter: very quickly, controllers realized the pilot may be flying too high and suffering from a lack of oxygen.
>> i think you may be suffering hypo hypoxia. would you like to lower altitude in.
>> soon, his wife was on the radio.
>> the couple was flying a cirrus sr-22 from san bernardino , california, to colorado springs . it was in colorado that trouble hit. the nearest airport, farmingten, new mexico. they asked a crew to move in for a visual and help talk the pilot's wife down.
>> nbc aviation consultitant john cox .
>> when you done have enough oxygen, your speech is slurred, your mental capacity is slurred and it is diminished.
>> you need to get below 10,000 feet.
>> he has oxian on.
>> as the plane descended, the pilot insisted he was in control, but to the great lakes crew, the message seemed gargled.
>> i can tell by how he's talking. he's conscious, but he can't think straight whatsoever.
>> ten minutes later, the pilot and his wife landed safely in farmingten, and today, they thank everybody involved. that plane is not pressurized, so above 10,000 feet, you need to have a mask, and tonight, questions if that mask was working.
>>> now we turn to politics and a name that keeps coming up -- sarah palin . mostly because she seems to want to have her name keep coming up. this time,