An untrained passenger miraculously managed to land a small plane, after the aging pilot had a medical emergency mid-flight.
The small aircraft, traveling from Westchester County in New York, was headed to Martha’s Vineyard Airport in West Tisbury on Saturday, when the 79-year-old pilot was incapacitated with an unknown medical condition.
The plane’s only other passenger, a 68-year-old woman, the passenger took control and managed to guide the 2006 Piper Meridian to the airport.
She miraculously managed to ground the plane, which seats a max capacity of six people, on its belly without without landing gear.
The controlled crash caused the plane’s left wing to snap in half upon impact, when it touched down in a grass field.
The pilot had to be extracted from the aircraft and was airlifted to a Boston hospital in critical condition.
The unnamed female passenger managed to walk away from the incident unharmed after receiving medical evaluation at a local hospital.
A video clip captured the aftermath, showing the 2006 Piper Meridian aircraft on the grass with the side door open, while surrounded by emergency vehicles and personnel.
Martha’s Vineyard Airport runway was temporarily closed but was quickly reopened on the same day, after the plane was moved to a secure location.
This incident wasn’t the only time a passenger had to step up to land a plane this year.
According to a CBS News report, the captain of a Southwest flight from Las Vegas, Nevada to Columbus, Ohio became incapacitated with serious abdominal pain that led him to pass out shortly after takeoff.
Thankfully, one of the passengers was an off-duty pilot from rival airline and was able to take over communications for the commercial liner, while the co-pilot grabbed the controls.
The captain was treated by the flight crew and a nurse who was also onboard, while they returned to Las Vegas.
Luckily for Southwest Flight 6013, the passenger was a trained pilot, as someone without flying experience wouldn’t be able to land the jet.
According to Patrick Smith, the author of the “Ask the Pilot” book and blog, an untrained civilian would have no shot at anything less than a catastrophic crash landing.
“A non-pilot wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to even work the communications radios, let alone fly and land the jet,” he remarked.