Man rescued in desert is AOPA member's son

August 14, 2008

When John Kenny of Arizona read AOPA’s story about the Husky pilot who found a man lying face down in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert on July 23, he initially didn’t realize he was reading the account of his son’s rescue.

Kenny’s family did some digging and later pieced together that the man was their family member whom they hadn’t heard from for a few days. The man is currently recovering from a broken back in Reno.

“He saved his life, no question about it,” Kenny said of John Morgan, the Nevada AOPA member who found the man. As it turned out, Kenny was also an AOPA member.

As AOPA Online previously reported, Morgan and his wife Jan were flying low over the desert in their Aviat Husky when they spotted a man lying face down. They eventually landed, covered him with the shade of the Husky’s high wing, and raised an airliner flying overhead via 121.5 MHz to request a medical flight.

Upon learning the news that the man was expected to recover, Morgan was overcome with joy, shouting and laughing with relief. Morgan said that he plans to meet with the family this week.

“I’m just really, really thankful we were there,” Morgan said. “That’s just amazing. It just blows me away how it turned out.”

After all, Morgan explained, there are only about 600,000 pilots in the United States, and 415,000 of those are AOPA members. What are the chances that the man they rescued was the son of a pilot and fellow member? Then again, what were the chances that Morgan and his wife would be flying low and slow in that part of the desert, with the man lying just far enough to the right to appear easily in their flight path?

“Thank God for general aviation,” Kenny said. “If that fellow didn’t happen to be flying low and slow, it would have been a different outcome.”

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller | AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.