Pilot Talks Down Suicidal Man in Plane

Tuesday wasn't exactly a regular day for Christine Hoadley. The Ohio woman found herself in the middle of a dramatic midair rescue after a distraught man piloting a stolen plane threatened to crash it to the ground.

Hoadley, a 23-year-old pilot, instructed Ralph Danison Jr., 18, of Nova, Ohio, who never had landed by himself, how to bring down the plane.

Danison took off in a stolen plane and threatened over the radio to crash it and kill himself, authorities said. Hoadley overheard him and spent 2 ½ hours trying to calm him over the radio while the small plane circled the Ashland County Airport in northern Ohio.

"He wanted us to copy a number to call his family and tell them he loved them and didn't want to live anymore," Hoadley told ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.

"He said he was going to drive the plane into the ground, that he had no reason to live anymore," she said.

'No Reason To Live'

Hoadley overheard Danison's mayday calls while she was practicing landings with another pilot. She said she flew about 70 miles from Columbus to Ashland Ohio to help.

Hoadley said one of her friends committed suicide in a plane about two years ago and she was thinking about that person while trying to calm Danison.

Hoadley and a flight instructor on the ground had to convince Danison not to crash the plane, then talk him through the landing — a task he wasn't familiar with.

"He had enough practice to know how to take off," Hoadly said. "The landing is more difficult than the takeoff."

The young man eventually landed it safely on the runway, veering into some grass.

Arrested and Jailed

Danison was arrested and taken to the county jail after he shut off the plane's engine, police said. Hoadley met briefly with him before he was taken away.

"As they were taking him away to jail, I gave him a hug and told him he'd make a good pilot some day and I would be happy to be his flight instructor any day," Hoadley said.

Prosecutor Robert Desanto said he has asked the county grand jury to file charges against Danison in connection with the theft of the airplane. The grand jury was expected to deliberate today.

The plane belonged to Johnson Aviation, which runs the airport, Desanto said.

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