'Hero' passenger lands plane at Dublin airport after pilot falls illStock photo: Getty


A passenger has been hailed a hero after taking over the controls of a plane and helping it land at Dublin Airport after the first officer fell ill.

The German man, an off-duty pilot, offered his services when the cabin crew announced the plane, carrying 264 passengers, was being diverted to Dublin.

He asked a member of staff the reason for the diversion, and found out the first officer of the Lufthansa Boeing 747 had been taken ill while flying over the Atlantic on Monday.

The off-duty pilot had been travelling as a passenger on a Lufthansa 747 flying from Newark to Frankfurt when the crew member suffered a severe migraine and was incapacitated.

A source involved in the incident told the Independent.ie: "It was a miracle. It had all the elements of a Hollywood movie but thankfully one with a happy ending."

The man highlighted the fact he was a qualified pilot, and helped the plane safely complete an emergency landing in Dublin at around 6am.

A Lufthansa spokeswoman said the man who stepped in to help was fully licensed to operate and fly the 747, telling the Guardian: "In such circumstances it's absolutely normal procedure for the pilot, the flight captain, to continue to operate the aircraft.

"Also, where necessary, the cabin crew are fully trained and can be called upon to read checklists back to the pilot. The procedures are in place for such an eventuality. "

According to the Irish Examiner, the Lufthansa spokeswoman added: "Whenever you have any sort of medical issue on board, whether it's a doctor or appropriately qualified person, that's always appreciated. The flight would have been operated as per procedures and safely even if the off-duty pilot had not been there."

Ireland's Air Accident Investigations Unit is looking into the incident.

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