Is there a doctor on board, and er... a pilot?

Last updated 14:28 15/01/2014

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It's quite possibly the last thing you'd want to hear at 30,000 feet. "Does anyone on board have medical training?" followed by "Does anyone in the cabin have flight experience?"

Passenger heard these terrifying requests on board a United Airlines flight from Des Moines to Denver after the pilot had a heart attack, reported the Daily Mail.

Nurses, Linda Alweiss from California and Amy Sorensen from Wyoming, rushed to respond when the crew asked if any passengers had medical training.

Alweiss said she found the pilot slumped over in the cockpit, mumbling and incoherent.

Alweiss, a paediatric intensive care nurse, noticed his heart was beating irregularly and thought he had suffered a blood clot or heart attack.

As she helped the pilot, there was another announcement: "Does anyone in the cabin have flight experience?"

"I turned to the co-pilot and I asked her, 'You know how to land the plane, right?' And she said yes," Alweiss told KTLA, a Los Angeles-based news station.

"I felt immediately comfortable. That was just one thing I didn't have to think about, so I could focus more on what was going on with the patient."

They landed the plane in Omaha, where the passengers stayed overnight and were placed on a rescheduled flight the next day.

Amazingly, Alweiss was seated next to the co-pilot when she continued her trip. She was told that the pilot had survived.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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