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A passenger with no flying experience took over the controls of a light plane for 20 minutes Monday after the pilot blacked out during a flight over Australia's southern state of Victoria, police said.

The pilot collapsed while flying a twin-engine Beech Baron with four passengers from the state capital of Melbourne to a small town in northwest New South Wales, a spokesman said.One passenger steered the plane while another made a distress call and a third tried to revive the pilot.

Melbourne air traffic controllers told the passengers how to keep the plane on course while a helicopter and a plane were sent to follow it, a Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said.

When the pilot came to he assumed control of the plane and landed at Deniliquin, 190 miles north of Melbourne, where he was taken to the hospital for tests.

"The passengers did a great job. They've flown in planes, but they've never flown like this . . . and they might never fly again," the police spokesman said.

The group rented a car to drive back to Melbourne.