Nurse Linda Alweiss was relaxing and playing Sudoku when the pilot of her plane fell ill.
One minute she was playing Sudoku, the next she was saving a pilot’s life at 30,000 feet.
Nurse Linda Alweiss, heading home to California from Iowa with her husband and daughter on a United Airlines flight, performed “heroic” measures when the captain of the plane suffered a possible heart attack in midair on Dec. 30.
Alweiss was relaxing in her seat when a flight attendant made an announcement asking if anyone had medical training, according to KTLA. Alweiss and another nurse on the plane, Amy Sorenson of Wyoming, volunteered to help. They were brought into the cockpit where they saw the captain was having trouble breathing.
The nurses and other passengers took the captain into the gallery. Another announcement was made, KTLA reported, asking if any passengers had any flight experience.
“I turned to the co-pilot and I asked her, ‘You know how to land the plane, right?’ And she said yes,” she told the network. “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.”
The nurses made use of a defibrillator and an IV to treat the pilot, according to KTLA. The plane made an emergency landing in Omaha. Paramedics met the plane to pick up the pilot, who was still alive.
“United flight 1637, a Boeing 737 operating between Des Moines and Denver Monday evening, landed safely in Omaha after the captain became ill,” the airline said in a statement. “United accommodated the customers overnight, and they continued to Denver the next day.”
“Her actions were heroic,” Linda’s husband Alan Alweiss told NBC. “She didn’t hesitate for a second.”
Amazingly, when Linda Alweiss and her family continued their trip the following day, she was sitting next to the co-pilot who landed the plane, NBC reported. The co-pilot filled her in on the pilot’s condition.
“They were able to get him into a cardiac unit,” Linda Alweiss told NBC. “He had survived.”