Radio enthusiast Benny Young Photo by: Ulster Herald

Tyrone amateur radio enthusiast claims he saved a Boston-bound flight from Hurricane Sandy


Radio enthusiast Benny Young Photo by: Ulster Herald

A Tyrone man claims he saved hundreds of lives during Hurricane Sandy, when he intercepted a mayday call from a Dublin to Boston bound flight.

"It was one of those freak incidents. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before," Benny Young, an amateur radio enthusiast, told the Ulster Herald newspaper.

Young (29) made contact with a United Airlines transatlantic pilot, who was having difficulty reaching Air Traffic Control in Boston during the height of Hurricane Sandy.

"The flight couldn't hear anything on the ground," Young, a member of Strabane Amateur Radio Society, said.

"I ended up talking to the pilot for about 17 minutes and I got the man operating the emergency net to come up to my frequency.

"He could hear me, but he couldn't hear the pilot because of a problem with the transponders on the ground which had been taken out by the storm.

"They must have thought they were going to be able to land before the weather turned. Then the storm arrived and they didn't think they were going to reach Boston at all.

"We were able to get the plane diverted because the winds were measured at 95 miles an hour at Boston."

A quick thinking Young then tuned into the American emergency frequency, who then contacted Logan International Airport. As a result the plane was diverted to Buffalo Airport.

According to Terry Whyte, the secretary of the Strabane Amateur Radio Society, Young’s experience is an amateur radio man's dream.

“Everyone else is jealous,” Whyte said.

He added: "He recorded everything in his log, but we still gave him a good grilling at the last club meeting.”


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