Passenger takes controls of airplane and crash lands after pilot suffers medical emergency

The crash resulted in a hard landing outside the runway causing the aircraft’s left wing to break in half

By AP

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Published: Sun 16 Jul 2023, 4:46 PM

A passenger of a small airplane took the controls and crash landed on a Massachusetts island on Saturday after the pilot suffered a medical emergency, police said.

The crash happened on Saturday afternoon near Martha's Vineyard Airport in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. The 79-year-old male pilot suffered the emergency during the plane's final approach, Massachusetts State Police said.


State police said the crash “resulted in a hard landing outside the runway that caused the aircraft’s left wing to break in half.” Authorities did not name either person on the plane and said both were transported to a hospital.

The pilot was then flown to a Boston hospital in life-threatening condition. The female passenger was uninjured and released from a local hospital, police said.


The 2006 Piper Meridian airplane departed from Westchester County, New York, earlier Saturday afternoon. The pilot and passenger are Connecticut residents, police said.

The crash is being investigated by state police and the Federal Aviation Administration. The aircraft was removed and taken to a secure location at the airport and the crash scene was cleared, state police said.

The crash happened almost 24 years to the day after a Piper crash killed John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette off Martha's Vineyard.

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