Passenger forced to crash land plane to save herself and pilot after he suffered 'medical emergency' mid-flight

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By VT

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A passenger onboard a small aircraft had to crash land the plane she was traveling on after her pilot suffered a medical emergency during the flight.

The aircraft was flying over Martha's Vineyard on Saturday (July 15) when the 80-year-old pilot passed out behind the controls, according to authorities.

Massachusetts State Police said the pilot had been controlling the 2006 Piper Meridian Turbo Prop six-seat plane when the incident occurred during final approach.

The quick-thinking passenger, a 68-year-old woman, was somehow able to land the aircraft in a grassy area near a runway at the island's airport at around 3:15PM. Police have reported that as a result of the "hard landing", the left wing broke in half, but both the pilot and the passenger survived.

Following the crash landing, the pilot was medevacked to Boston Hospital in a life-threatening condition, while the woman was, remarkably, unharmed. She was evaluated at Martha's Vineyard Hospital and then released.

It is not currently know if the pilot's condition is related to the impact of the crash, the medical emergency he suffered, or both.

The pair had been making the flight from Westchester, New York, according to state police, and were the only two people onboard the aircraft. Both are from Connecticut but neither have been formally identified by the police as of the time of writing.

Before the damaged plane was removed and taken to a secure location, the nearby airport's primary commercial runway was shut for just over two hours so the wreckage could be safely cleared away, according to the MV Times.

The situation is currently under investigation by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and Massachusetts State Police.

In an eerie coincidence, the crash happened only one day before the 24th anniversary of the Piper Saratoga plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette in the waters near Martha’s Vineyard in 1999.

JFK Jr. had been piloting the Piper Saratoga from New Jersey's Essex County Airport, with his intended route being along the coast of Connecticut, across Rhode Island Sound, and into Martha's Vineyard Airport. He was en route to the wedding of his cousin Rory Kennedy.

According to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Kennedy Jr. fell victim to spatial disorientation while descending over water at night, with the weather conditions obscuring all basic landmarks. The 38-year-old subsequently lost control of the aircraft and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Three days after the plane had been declared missing, a salvage ship identified the plane's fuselage, along with the body of Kennedy Jr. himself, still strapped into his seat. Coast Guard Admiral Richard M. Larrabee said that all three bodies were "near and under" the fuselage, still strapped in. The autopsy performed by the county medical examiner found that all three had died upon impact.

The event made international news, with some Americans branding the search for the wreckage and the bodies a waste of taxpayer dollars, with President Bill Clinton ordering US Navy warships to help conduct the search, an order that would not have been made for ordinary citizens.

Featured Image Credit: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty

Passenger forced to crash land plane to save herself and pilot after he suffered 'medical emergency' mid-flight

vt-author-image

By VT

Article saved!Article saved!

A passenger onboard a small aircraft had to crash land the plane she was traveling on after her pilot suffered a medical emergency during the flight.

The aircraft was flying over Martha's Vineyard on Saturday (July 15) when the 80-year-old pilot passed out behind the controls, according to authorities.

Massachusetts State Police said the pilot had been controlling the 2006 Piper Meridian Turbo Prop six-seat plane when the incident occurred during final approach.

The quick-thinking passenger, a 68-year-old woman, was somehow able to land the aircraft in a grassy area near a runway at the island's airport at around 3:15PM. Police have reported that as a result of the "hard landing", the left wing broke in half, but both the pilot and the passenger survived.

Following the crash landing, the pilot was medevacked to Boston Hospital in a life-threatening condition, while the woman was, remarkably, unharmed. She was evaluated at Martha's Vineyard Hospital and then released.

It is not currently know if the pilot's condition is related to the impact of the crash, the medical emergency he suffered, or both.

The pair had been making the flight from Westchester, New York, according to state police, and were the only two people onboard the aircraft. Both are from Connecticut but neither have been formally identified by the police as of the time of writing.

Before the damaged plane was removed and taken to a secure location, the nearby airport's primary commercial runway was shut for just over two hours so the wreckage could be safely cleared away, according to the MV Times.

The situation is currently under investigation by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and Massachusetts State Police.

In an eerie coincidence, the crash happened only one day before the 24th anniversary of the Piper Saratoga plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette, and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette in the waters near Martha’s Vineyard in 1999.

JFK Jr. had been piloting the Piper Saratoga from New Jersey's Essex County Airport, with his intended route being along the coast of Connecticut, across Rhode Island Sound, and into Martha's Vineyard Airport. He was en route to the wedding of his cousin Rory Kennedy.

According to an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Kennedy Jr. fell victim to spatial disorientation while descending over water at night, with the weather conditions obscuring all basic landmarks. The 38-year-old subsequently lost control of the aircraft and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Three days after the plane had been declared missing, a salvage ship identified the plane's fuselage, along with the body of Kennedy Jr. himself, still strapped into his seat. Coast Guard Admiral Richard M. Larrabee said that all three bodies were "near and under" the fuselage, still strapped in. The autopsy performed by the county medical examiner found that all three had died upon impact.

The event made international news, with some Americans branding the search for the wreckage and the bodies a waste of taxpayer dollars, with President Bill Clinton ordering US Navy warships to help conduct the search, an order that would not have been made for ordinary citizens.

Featured Image Credit: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty