United Airlines hero pilot dies at age 81

NEVADA (HawaiiNewsNow) - According to the Reno Gazette Journal, the United Airlines pilot who safely landed a crippled Boeing 747 departing from Honolulu to Auckland, New Zealand 21 years ago, died Monday at his home in Minden.

David Cronin saved more than 300 passengers and crew members aboard Flight 811 after a cargo door ripped off and two of the plane's four engines blew out during flight over the Pacific.

Cronin joined United Airlines as a pilot in 1954. He was on his second-to-last flight before mandatory retirement when he lowered the aircraft's altitude and successfully landed.

Funeral services are pending.

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