It is a movie trope dating back decades. You are on a plane, the pilot takes ill, and some hero passenger has to land the plane. Usually in a rainstorm, at night. It usually works out in the movies, but thankfully it rarely happens in real life. Until this week.
Wednesday on a flight from Las Vegas to Columbus, Ohio one of the pilots on a Southwest flight took ill, and a hero off duty pilot from another airline stepped in and helped land the plane. Check this out.
Southwest Flight 6013 was headed from Las Vegas to Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday when one of the pilots needed medical attention, a spokesperson for the airline said.
A pilot from another airline helped land a Southwest Airlines flight on Wednesday after its captain became “incapacitated” and required medical attention, forcing the flight to turn back to Las Vegas, according to the airline and radio traffic data.
Southwest Flight 6013 was bound for Columbus on Wednesday when one of its pilots “needed medical attention,” a spokesperson for the airline said. They did not say what the pilot required medical attention for.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) March 24, 2023
Imagine being on a flight back from Vegas; broke, hungover, and sleep-deprived. Maybe the best case scenario in that situation is a plane crash. Rather than that, as the pilot was being tended to in the back of the plane, the off duty fly-boy stepped in and helped land the bird safely so the stricken pilot could be rushed to the hospital.
In radio traffic archived by the website LiveATC, someone can be heard saying that the captain had started to feel stomach pain and then “fainted or became incapacitated” around five minutes later.
They say the captain “came back” around 60 seconds later and was being looked after in the back of the plane. “We need to get him on an ambulance immediately,” they say.
“We greatly appreciate their support and assistance,” they said.
The flight was able to land safely and an alternate crew took over, operating the flight to Columbus, the spokesperson said.
“We commend the crew for their professionalism and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding regarding the situation,” the spokesperson said.
The condition of the pilot who required medical attention was not immediately clear Thursday morning.
To be honest, once the emergency landing took place, I would likely be headed to the rental counter to get a car and make the rest of the trip the old-fashioned way. Why tempt fate any further?
It’s unclear whether the pilot had the chicken or the fish, (Airplane reference) but he was removed and taken to seek medical attention as the flight continued to Columbus.
No details have been released on what airline the hero pilot is employed by, nor of the condition of the pilot. Southwest has been riddled by issues recently with outdated software and numerous cancelled flights. This is just one more black eye on the struggling airline.
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