- AffiliationDelta Air Lines
- TitleCaptain, First Officer, and Flight Attendants
- LocationDetroit, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; New York, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia
Location (in order): Detroit, Mich.; Detroit, Mich.; Atlanta, Ga.; New York, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga.; Atlanta, Ga.
It had been a long day, and the Delta (No. 73) crew—a captain, first officer, and three flight attendants—piled into a van for a ride to their hotel for the night’s layover in Denver. They joked with their driver, Ernie Applegate, for a few minutes before beginning to check their phones or doze off. Suddenly, the car swerved to the right on the expressway. No one wanted to say anything, but then it happened again. Then, Applegate slumped over the steering wheel with a groan, the car hurtling in the direction he slumped. Flight attendant Noelle Banks grabbed the wheel and Princeton Richardson, also a flight attendant, flew to the floor to push the brakes with his hands—just moments before the vehicle careened to the edge the elevated road. The crew carried Applegate out of the car and began administering CPR on the side of the road. As Applegate fell in and out of consciousness, they took turns giving him compressions until an ambulance arrived.
That night, the crew went to the hospital to visit Applegate and meet his family. He had suffered a massive heart attack. They also learned that Applegate’s daughter was about to give birth to his grandson. Thanks to their quick thinking, Applegate was alive to meet him.