TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A United Airlines pilot who was on vacation with his family in Hawaii ended up helping evacuate a plane full of people out of Maui.

Captain Vince Eckelkamp and his family were vacationing a few miles from Lahaina when the fires began the day they were supposed to leave.

When they were checking out of the hotel, the Eckelkamp’s were warned by their hotel staff that there were downed power lines and fires in Lahaina.

“There were people walking on the street and we could see them getting pelted with debris, and roof shingles,” Vince’s wife Kathy Eckelkamp said.

The Eckelkamp’s flight was delayed as crew members were stuck in other areas of the island, and pilots nearing their work limitations.

“The crew desk called me up and said, hey, you know this flight is going to cancel,” Captain Eckelkamp said. “Unless you can fly the flight. Can you do it?”

Captain Eckelkamp approached the lady at the desk.

“I might try and fly the plane,” he said. “If they need me. She’s like, Oh, my gosh, will you do that? I was like, Yeah, of course I would. I mean, I’ll do anything I can to help.”

And he did. The pilot flew a plane full of people to safety in Denver.

Captain Eckelkamp said he was just in the right place at the right time.

He is still receiving messages from people he doesn’t know, thanking him for flying their loved ones to safety.