Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Dies Mid-Flight in North Carolina

In North Carolina, an airplane passenger found himself in a dire situation when the pilot suffered a medical emergency and passed away mid-flight. The small Cirrus SR-20 aircraft had only the two passengers on board when the tragedy occurred. The pilot, Joe Izatt, a professor at Duke University and chairman of the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, fell unconscious while operating the plane. The passenger took over the controls and successfully landed the plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The airport assured that the landing and the pilot’s passing did not cause any disruptions to other air traffic. At this time, details surrounding the specific medical emergency Izatt experienced have not been disclosed. The aircraft was registered to Izatt personally and to a Raleigh-based private company called Coherent Aviation.

Flags at Duke University were lowered to half-staff to honor the late professor, and the school released a statement remembering Izatt’s dedication to his students and colleagues, as well as his groundbreaking research in the field of biomedical engineering. Other Duke professors also spoke highly of Izatt’s integrity and the impact of his research on medical advances.

Duke University highlighted Izatt’s significant contributions to the development of optical coherence tomography, a non-invasive medical imaging technique used in diagnosing and treating conditions like retinal issues. The school acknowledged the profound loss of Izatt to the academic community and the enduring impact of his legacy.

Izatt is survived by his wife and three children. The late pilot’s irreplaceable impact on the academic and medical communities was honored by the university and will be remembered for years to come.

Written by Staff Reports

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