Passengers and crew on two commercial jets helped locate a missing yachtsman off Australia by looking through the windows with binoculars.
An Air Canada jet and an Air New Zealand aircraft swooped down to 4,000ft to assist rescuers in the search for the solo yachtsman who had activated his emergency beacon.
His remote location was out of helicopter range so rescuers asked the planes' pilots to get involved as they were flying over the yacht's GPS position.
According to Sydney's Daily Telegraph, one passenger wrote on Facebook: "15 hour flight ends up being 17 hours as we descended to 4,000ft to locate a capsized yacht for search and rescue.
"Amazing, and slightly off putting, to see what a Boeing 777 aircraft can do when not on autopilot and flying/circling low over the ocean."
The crew on each plane asked passengers to tell them if they had binoculars in their hand luggage so they could be used to help in the search.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said the crew and a number of passengers onboard flight AC033 to Sydney from Vancouver spotted the boat and advised authorities of its location.
He said the yachtsman was subsequently rescued. He said the airline commends the crew and passengers.
"The pilots immediately determined they had sufficient fuel to undertake this, and headed out to the remote area which was over fairly rough seas," he explained.
"After apprising the customers onboard that we would assist as we were the only aircraft in the immediate vicinity, all onboard became involved in the search efforts," Mr Fitzpatrick said.
"The crew borrowed binoculars from customers and also engaged those sitting on the right hand side of the aircraft to help look.
"As our aircraft flew over the area at 4,000ft, a reflection from a mirror shining upwards was spotted and the crew saw the yacht in question, de-masted with a person standing - which was confirmed by a number of passengers."
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said the 44 year old sailor has now been picked up 270 nautical miles out to sea.
He is said to be in good spirits and uninjured after drifting for 16 hours.
Speaking about the involvement of the passenger jets, a spokesperson from the Amsa said: "it's not a regular occurrence but that's because incidents are (usually) much closer to shore.
"Amsa thanks the captains and crews of the Air Canada and Air New Zealand aircraft for their assistance in the search and rescue operation, and their passengers for their patience."