While the news made headlines around the world, all was not what it seemed. The Good Samaritan was not just any passenger, but a qualified pilot, in fact an airline captain who worked for the same airline. He happened to be travelling as a passenger at the time.
The flight was carrying 200 passengers and was halfway through the flight from Bangkok to Delhi when the pilot fell sick, Britain’s Daily Mirror reported.
Co-pilot Samir Malhotra assumed responsibility for flying the aircraft, as is normal in such events. He was fortunate that a Jet Airways pilot was aboard, travelling as a passenger, and was able to help him during the descent, approach and landing. Just as fortunate was the fact a doctor was aboard and able to help the stricken pilot.
The off-duty pilot joined the co-pilot in the cockpit and they landed the plane safely at Indira Gandhi international airport.
A Jet Airways spokesman said: “The Captain of Jet Airways flight 9W 063 from Bangkok – Delhi fell sick during the latter part of the flight.
“The first officer took over as the commander and declared an emergency as per company and regulatory requirements. This is done so that the flight is accorded high priority and preparations are made for the flight’s arrival on the ground. The aircraft landed safely at Delhi Airport.
“The Captain was being looked after by a doctor that was traveling as a passenger on board the flight. The first officer was assisted by another Jet Airways Captain that was positioning as a passenger from Bangkok to Delhi.
“As part of our flight training program, the flight crew and cabin crew of Jet Airways are routinely trained to handle this as well as other possible exigencies that may develop during flight.”
An inquiry is proceeding.
Written by Peter Needham