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Airlines

United Pilot Blacks Out Mid-Flight

United Pilot Blacks Out Mid-Flight
Jeff Edwards

A United flight was forced to divert Tuesday morning after the co-pilot lost consciousness and required medical attention.

United Airlines Flight 1614 was en route from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Tuesday morning when it was forced to divert to Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ) after the first officer lost consciousness.

An ABQ representative told ABC News that the co-pilot was unconscious when the Boeing 787-8 landed, but was taken to the hospital in stable condition. A United representative declined to identify the first officer, but confirmed that “Flight 1614 was diverted when a crew member became ill.”

“The crew followed procedures and the aircraft landed safely,” the airline representative told ABC News. “We are working to get our customers to their final destinations.”

The incident marks the second time in this week that a passenger plane was forced to land because a member of the flight crew became incapacitated. Monday morning, the co-pilot of an American Airlines flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) was forced to divert to Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) after the captain lost consciousness and died mid-flight.

CNN has confirmed the identity of the American pilot who lost his life in the mid-air incident. Captain Michael Johnston, 57, was pronounced dead shortly after his plane touched down at SYR. A preliminary report by the Onondaga County medical examiner “showed that the death was the result of natural diseases.”

The coroner did not elaborate on cause of death, but Johnston’s wife told reporters that he underwent double bypass surgery in 2006 and she was told “he likely died of a heart attack.”

[Photo: KOAT via ABC News]

View Comments (3)

3 Comments

  1. celsius1939

    October 7, 2015 at 4:05 am

    He underwent double bypass surgery? He had no business holding the lives of hundreds of passengers in his hands. Fly United and take your chances.

  2. diamantaire

    October 7, 2015 at 7:35 am

    @celsius1939 : the pilot who passed away was from american.

  3. KRSW

    October 7, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    American: Check
    United: Check
    Delta: You’re up next at bat.

    and this is exactly why there are a minimum of TWO pilots in the cockpit of every commercial airline flight. Disconcerting a little bit, but at least the remaining pilots didn’t have fish for dinner.

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