Off-Duty Pilot Lands Southwest Plane After Captain Became 'Incapacitated'

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas

Photo: Getty Images

An off-duty pilot from another airline helped land a Southwest Airlines flight after its captain reportedly became "incapacitated" and needed medical attention, the airline and radio traffic data confirmed via NBC News.

Southwest Flight 6013, which took off in Las Vegas and was scheduled to land in Columbus, was diverted back to its initial location after a pilot "needed medical attention," a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said, though not specifying the prognosis. A person was heard on radio traffic shared by the website LiveATC saying that the flight's captain began to feel stomach pain and later "fainted or became incapacitated" about five minutes later.

A credentialed pilot from another airline traveling on the plane then entered the flight deck and assisted with radio communication as the co-pilot flew the aircraft, according to the spokesperson.

"We greatly appreciate their support and assistance," the spokesperson said via NBC News.

The plane landed safely in Las Vegas and an alternate crew took over the flight before it continued to its originally scheduled destination in Columbus.

"We commend the crew for their professionalism and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding regarding the situation," the spokesperson said via NBC News.

The condition of the pilot who was reported to be "incapacitated" was not immediately made clear at the time of NBC News' report on Thursday (March 23).

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