A Duke University professor has died after he had a midair medical crisis while piloting an airplane in North Carolina on Sunday.

A passenger was able to take control of the single-engine plane, and managed to make an emergency landing at Raleigh Durham International Airport, according to WRAL. It is unclear what caused the pilot’s medical emergency.

Duke University professor Joseph Izatt.Duke University

The pilot, Joseph Izatt, was a prominent professor at Duke. Having joined the institution in 2001, he had published more than 200 papers and also chaired Duke’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. The university lowered its flags and released a statement on Izatt’s death.

“He was an exceptionally thoughtful leader who weighed every decision with a care that originated with his deep love for the BME community,” school Dean Jerome Lynch said. “The integrity and humility he brought as a school leader will be missed.”

Izatt was touted by the Duke community as a skilled researcher who focused his endeavors on incorporating noninvasive technologies into diagnosing eye conditions and deciding treatment options.

A passenger landed a private plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after the pilot suffered a medical issue on April 7, 2024.
A passenger landed a private plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after the pilot, a Duke professor, suffered a medical issue Sunday.RDU Airport Police via WRAL
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