A Southwest Airlines pilot reportedly suffered a medical emergency shortly after taking off from Las Vegas, Nevada, according to aviation officials.
An off-duty pilot flying as a passenger on the same flight helped take control of the aircraft, which was bound for Columbus, Ohio.
According to ABC, the pilot fainted from stomach pain.
In an air traffic control audio obtained by CNN, a flight crew member notified officials that “the captain became incapacitated while en route.”
Southwest Airlines spokesperson, Chris Perry, told The New York Post a credentialed pilot from another airline “assisted with radio communication while our Southwest Pilot flew the aircraft” during the medical emergency.
The unidentified off-duty pilot notified control tower operators that flight attendants were accompanying the sick t pilot in the back of the plane.
“But we need to get him on an ambulance immediately,” the pilot told air traffic controllers, according to air traffic audio.
The off-duty pilot re-routed the aircraft to Las Vegas for an emergency landing, where health crews stood by.
“We commend the crew for their professionalism and appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding regarding the situation,” Southwest said in a statement.
The pilot’s current condition is not known.
Southwest said it was “standard procedure” to “request assistance from traveling medical personnel during in-flight medical events,” the Post reported.
“This situation just so happened to involve one of our employees,” the airline said.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reminded flight personnel of the “need for continued vigilance and attention to mitigation of safety risks” and is now investigating the incident.
The news comes just over a week after a United Airlines flight was diverted to Houston International airport after the pilot reported suffering “chest pains.”
Earlier this month, we also reported a British Airways pilot died from a heart attack shortly before he was scheduled to fly from Cairo to London Heathrow.
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