AN off-duty pilot stepped in to help land a plane with 264 passengers on board at Dublin Airport after a co-pilot fell ill.
The officer had been travelling as a passenger on a Lufthansa 747 flying from Newark to Frankfurt yesterday morning when it is understood the crew member suffered a severe migraine and was incapacitated.
Flight LH403 landed safely in Dublin about 5.30am, the Dublin Airport Authority confirmed.
“It was a miracle,” said a source involved in the operation. “It had all the elements of a Hollywood movie but thankfully one with a happy ending.”
A Lufthansa spokeswoman said the man who stepped in was fully licensed to operate and fly the 747.
"In such circumstances it's absolutely normal procedure for the pilot, the flight captain, to continue to operate the aircraft," she said.
"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. But the effort of the off-duty pilot were certainly appreciated."
The Irish Aviation Authority has been notified of the incident and has received a briefing report.