Fake plane crash called in to 911 by man on Ambien

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An alarming 911 call about a plane crash ended up being a bad dream - literally. (WLS)

An alarming 911 call about a plane crash ended up being a bad dream - literally.

KOMO reports a disoriented man had taken the popular drug Ambien before making that call for help.

A phone call pleading for help came from a quiet neighborhood in Renton, Wash. A 75-year-old man called dispatch at 2 a.m. to say he had been in a plane crash.

Operator: Are you able to safely get out?
Caller: No. I'm pinned in.
Operator: Did it hit any buildings or just into the trees?
Caller: In the trees. In the field with trees.

The caller said he was in small cargo plane with 3 unconscious people.

Operator: Are you able to look out the window? Are you able to see for the wing where you are at?

Caller: No, I can't see anything.

But it turns out he imagined the whole thing after taking Ambien before bed.

The 911 caller did not want to talk on camera, but he did say how concerned he is about the side effects of Ambien. He says he only took half a pill because he couldn't sleep after having surgery.

"It must have seem really real to him for him to call 911," Dr. Gandis Mazeika said.

Dr. Mazeika is a sleep expert with Sound Sleep Health.

"It must have been like a real hallucination for him and that does speak to some of the potency of Ambien," Dr. Maeika said.

Dr. Mazeika said Ambien is one of the most popular prescribed drugs in the U.S. He said it's safe, but there are times when it can cause problems.

"It can cause people to have this kind of disorientation if given inappropriately to a patient or if the dosage is too high," Dr. Mazeika said.

As for that grandfather from Renton, Dr. Mazeika said the man could still have had other drugs in his system from his surgery.

"By and large, if a person is taking it and they have no symptoms taking it, this should not be a warning to stop taking it," Dr. Mazeika said.

Doctors say you should only take Ambien when you have a prescription for it.

Sleep experts say if you take Ambien and you're concerned about your state of mind, do some simple puzzles - a sudoku or a crossword - to see if you can function.

Experts also say people who are new to the prescribed drug should start taking it on a weekend first before using it on a work day.

Related Topics:
911 callplane crashhealthsleepu.s. & world

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