A 68-year-old female passenger took control of a plane and crash-landed on an island after the 80-year-old pilot was taken ill and unable to fly.
The incident took place near Martha’s Vineyard Airport in West Tisbury, in the US state of Massachusetts, on Saturday, 15th July, with the left wing of the aircraft breaking in half as it touched down hard.
The 80-year-old male pilot reportedly fell unwell on final approach, with the female passenger, reportedly from Connecticut, taking control of the aircraft, a 2006 Piper Meridian, and crash-landing it.
Both survived the crash landing and were taken to hospital, with the 68-year-old woman, who has not been named, later being released uninjured after a checkup.
The pilot, also unnamed, remains hospitalised in a life-threatening condition, according to local media.
Newsflash obtained statements from the Massachusetts State Police and the West Tisbury Police Department on Saturday, July.
The Massachusetts State Police said: “At approximately 3:15 PM a small plane crash-landed in a grassy area near a runway at Martha’s Vineyard Airport.”
The statement added that the male pilot “suffered a medical emergency upon final approach”.
It also said: “His female passenger took the controls and attempted to land the aircraft, which resulted in a hard landing outside the runway that caused the aircraft’s left wing to break in half.
“Both the pilot and passenger were transported to the local hospital.
“The pilot was then flown by medical helicopter to a Boston Hospital in serious life-threatening condition. The passenger was uninjured; she was evaluated at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and released.
“The aircraft, a 2006 Piper Meridian, departed from Westchester, New York earlier in the afternoon. The pilot and passenger are Connecticut residents.
“The scene has been cleared. The aircraft has been removed to a secure location at the airport.
“The crash remains under investigation by the State Police-Oak Bluffs Barracks, the State Police Detective Unit for the Cape and Islands District, and the Federal Aviation Administration.”
And the West Tisbury Police Department said: “On Saturday, July 15, 2023 at 3:12 p.m. a Piper Meridian Turbo Prop 6 seat plane was reported to have crashed at the MVY [Martha’s Vineyard] Airport.
“The male pilot, 80 years of age, was having a medical condition upon approach when the female passenger, 68, took over controls, eventually landing the plane on its belly with no landing gear. The female had minor injuries and the male party was extricated from the plane and subsequently med-flighted to Boston for additional treatment. The Massachusetts State Police and FAA are involved in the investigation.
“The airport has just opened the short runway and slowly continuing operations.”
The investigation into the crash is ongoing. It is unclear if the 68-year-old woman liaised with air traffic control or if she managed to crash-land it without assistance.