Stacey & Mike's Happy News: Pilot From Another Airline Takes The Wheel

Thanks to Jasmine in Newberg

A pilot from another airline helped land a Southwest Airlines flight that left early Wednesday from Las Vegas after its captain became incapacitated and required medical attention.

Las Vegas resident Diane McGlinchey, who was on the flight with her husband, said Thursday that she didn't notice any panic when crew members initially went on the plane's public announcement system to ask whether medical personnel were on board.

A passenger sitting up front who said she was a nurse put on her call light to help, while the SW co-pilot operated the plane for the incapacitated captain. But a third pilot, from another airline who was on board as a passenger, entered the flight deck and assisted with radio communication 

The plane returned to Las Vegas International Airport at about and a Southwest spokesperson said the plane landed safely and an alternate crew took over, operating the flight to Columbus.

Diane said she and her husband didn't realize it was the pilot who had had the medical emergency until after the plane landed when EMS and fire officials were already waiting

The other pilot from another plane happened to also be in his uniform, she added, and no one seemed anxious or worried when the flight turned around to go back to Las Vegas.

Commercial airline pilots undergo medical checkups every six months and such health scares are rare. And with two pilots on every flight, the captain and the first officer are "equally qualified and trained" to operate the plane by themselves if the other becomes incapacitated. That by chance a third pilot was on board was icing on the cake.

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