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Off-duty pilot saves Southwest flight

Randy Mancini 18 Mar 23
Southwest Airlines planes are seen at the AustinBergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Austin, Texas on January 22, 2023. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 12:55 PM – Thursday, March 23, 2023

An off-duty pilot who was traveling with Southwest Airlines stepped in to help the flight crew after one of the on-duty pilots had a medical problem mid-flight.

From Josh Yoder: Southwest Airlines 6013 LAS-CMH departing Las Vegas diverted as pilot collapsed shortly after takeoff morning of March 22, 2023 – 5th pilot collapse in past 3 weeks.

— Michael Yon (@Michael_Yon) March 23, 2023

“It’s standard procedure for our Flight Crews to request assistance from traveling medical personnel during in-flight medical events involving Customers, this situation just so happened to involve one of our Employees,” the airline said.

According to Southwest Airlines, the problem started shortly after Flight 6013 from Las Vegas to Columbus, Ohio, took off on Wednesday. Airline spokesperson Chris Perry had shared that one of the pilots had “needed medical attention.”

“A credentialed Pilot from another airline, who was on board, entered the Flight Deck and assisted with radio communication while our Southwest Pilot flew the aircraft,” Perry said. “We greatly appreciate their support and assistance.”

During the incident, a member of the flight crew was heard saying on air traffic control that the captain of the flight had become “incapacitated while en route.” It was said that the captain was assisted in the back of the plane by another flight crew member.

According to information from the flight-tracking website, the aircraft was in the air for approximately 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Southwest has said that the flight continued as scheduled to Columbus after another safety crew took over from Las Vegas.

It is reported that The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the incident.