Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has praised the pilot and crew member of a Jersey-bound Flybe flight who executed a safe landing after the co-pilot suffered a seizure. The co-pilot was restrained as a result of the incident, which saw the flight diverted to MAN in August of 2017.
The co-pilot of a Flybe flight was “physically restrained” by members of crew after suffering a seizure during a flight from Inverness, Scotland, to the Channel Island of Jersey, the Manchester Evening News reports. The incident occurred on August 5, 2017 and resulted in the plane, a Dash 8 turboprop, making an emergency diversion to Manchester Airport (MAN).
According to a report issued by Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) – excerpts of which have been quoted by the outlet, the flight’s pilot in command noted that the co-pilot was “shaking” and that “his hands and arms were tensed and that he was leaning back in his seat with his head and eyes looking up towards the ceiling.”
The pilot unsuccessfully attempted to revive his colleague and made contact with a member of cabin crew who came to his aid.
As she made her way to the cockpit, the plane tilted violently and the crew member struggled to stay on her feet. Upon entering the flight deck, it became apparent that the co-pilot was still involuntarily controlling the plane’s rudder pedals with his legs.
The co-pilot was described as being “gray in the face, had blue lips and a rigid body but was still breathing.” The cabin crew member removed his legs from the controls and attempted to restrain his arms, something that proved to be “impractical as his arms were so stiff.”
The AAIB report further states, “At that point, the co-pilot had a second, more violent seizure. It was physically demanding trying to restrain him as his limbs were flailing and going stiff.”
The pilot quickly took control of the plane and requested a diversion to MAN. At this point, the outlet reports that both the pilot and member of cabin crew considered whether or not to remove the co-pilot from the cockpit, but were concerned over the possibility of him experiencing another seizure.
It was decided to leave him on the flight deck, but the captain and the crew member asked a passenger to stand close to the door of the cockpit for assistance, if needed.
During the descent into MAN, the co-pilot revived slightly but was deemed to be too ill to be released from his restraints.
The flight landed safely and the co-pilot was taken to hospital and released within three hours. According to the report by the AAIB, the co-pilot, “…had not previously shown any symptoms which might have alerted him or his colleagues in advance to the seizure which occurred on the flight.”
The pilot and crew were praised for executing, “…a safe and successful outcome to what was, potentially, a hazardous incident.”
[Image Source: Wikipedia / Roger Oldfield]