Off-duty pilot steps in when on-duty pilot has medical emergency mid-flight

Talk about being at the right place at the right time.

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An off-duty pilot was on board a Southwest Airlines flight as a private passenger when one of the on-duty pilots had a mid-flight medical emergency, CNN reported.

It all started shortly after take-off for flight 6013 from Las Vegas to Columbus, Ohio.

KNLV reported that the flight had left Las Vegas around 6:30 a.m. and returned at about 7:50 a.m.

The airline confirmed that one of the pilots “needed medical attention,” when “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,” Southwest spokesperson Chris Perry told CNN.

The on-duty pilot was taken to the back of the plane and was accompanied by a flight attendant but it was said he needed an ambulance immediately, according to audio recorded on

A nurse was also on board the flight and helped care for the pilot. No other information about what caused the medical emergency or the pilot’s condition was released, CBS News reported.

The plane, which was in the air for about an hour and 17 minutes, returned safely to Las Vegas and a backup crew boarded the flight to Columbus, USA Today reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.