Last updated: 12:30 PM ET, Sat October 10 2015

Another Pilot Becomes Incapacitated During Flight

Impacting Travel | Michael Isenbek | October 10, 2015

Another Pilot Becomes Incapacitated During Flight

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

For the third time this week, an airliner had to make an emergency landing due to a pilot becoming incapacitated.

EasyJet Flight EZY5461 was en route to Heraklion in Crete from London’s Gatwick, but diverted to Marco Polo airport near Venice when the captain fell ill, MetroUK reported.

Feeling unwell, the captain relinquished control of the aircraft to the first officer, an easyJet spokesperson told MetroUK. Then while being treated by a member of the cabin crew he lost consciousness “for a brief moment,” the spokesperson said.

After “a routine landing in line with procedures” by the first officer, per the spokesperson, emergency services met the plane and transported the captain to the hospital.

The Sun reported his condition as “non-life threatening.”

EasyJet’s spokesperson said a replacement jet and crew was dispatched to Venice so passengers could complete the trip to Heraklion. “We apologize for any inconvenience experienced due to the diversion and resulting delay,” the spokesperson added.

This latest incident comes just days after an American Airlines pilot died mid-flight, followed a short time later by a United Airlines co-pilot losing consciousness.

Addressing questions about pilot health along with passenger and crew safety, the Independent pointed out that captains have to pass annual physicals, and once they reach 40, they must pass them every six months.

Also, per statistics cited by the Independent, these emergencies are anomalies: According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), just seven pilots flying for U.S. airlines and one charter pilot have died mid-flight since 1994.

Addressing the American Airlines pilot’s death, Steve Wallace, leader of the FAA’s accident investigations office from 2000 to 2008, told the Independent it was rare for a pilot to become incapacitated.


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