Early on Monday morning an American Airlines/U.S. Air pilot died at the controls of a flight to Boston the airline confirmed.
American Airlines flight 550 was flying from Phoenix, Arizona to Boston, Massachusetts when the pilot began to to collapse.
In cockpit recordings of the incident, the co-pilot can be heard informing ground crew that the pilot was “incapacitated” and requested an emergency landing as he neared Syracuse, New York. The plane was immediately diverted and landed just after 7AM.
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“Medical emergency, captain is incapacitated, request handling for runway 108,” the co-pilot says on the recordings.
Passengers reported to the news media and on social media that the flight crew were professional and seemed to be doing all they could during the incident.
One passenger, Boston resident Louise Anderson, tweeted, “The pilot died on our redeye back to Boston (leading to 4h in Syracuse). Life is short. Do what you love before it’s too late.”
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The red-eye flight was carrying 147 passengers and five crew members, the airline said.
Calling the incident “incredibly sad” the airlines did not identify the pilot or the cause of his death.
“Unfortunately, our pilot passed away. We are incredibly saddened by this event, and we are focused on caring for our pilot’s family and colleagues,” American/US Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said.
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