Four commercial airline pilots have collapsed suddenly during flights in the past two weeks, reports say. Two of them died.
A fifth pilot collapsed at the boarding gate and later died. Numerous other incidents involving pilots were reported earlier this year.
On Aug. 13, a LATAM airlines pilot collapsed and died in the bathroom during a commercial flight from Miami to Chile. The plane's co-pilots made an emergency landing in Panama, The Sun reported, citing sources aboard the airplane.
Iván Andaur, 56, was at the helm of the Santiago-bound LATAM airlines flight around 11 p.m. when he suffered apparent cardiac arrest, according to The Sun.
Andaur's two co-pilots were forced to make an emergency landing at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City.
A nurse and two doctors onboard rushed to save Andaur but were unable to do so.
“Unfortunately, we did not have the necessary or sufficient supplies to perform a good resuscitation,” said the nurse, who was identified only as Isadora on social media. “LATAM needs to improve the issue of protocol in case of health and medical emergencies like this where lives can be saved but the resources are needed.”
After being stranded in Panama City for nearly six hours, the 271 passengers were reportedly booked hotels and new flights to Chile’s capital city.
On Aug. 16, a senior pilot working with Qatar Airways died while flying as a passenger from Delhi to Doha. The Qatar Airways flight, QR 579 (Airbus A350, Registration A7ALM), diverted to Dubai due to the medical emergency when the pilot, 51-years-old, fell ill onboard. However, he could not be saved.
“The pilot had worked with Alliance Air and spent 17 years in SpiceJet. He had operated SpiceJet’s first flight, Delhi-Ahmedabad, on May 23, 2005. Last year he had joined Qatar Airways where he was flying the Boeing 777,” SpiceJet sources said, Dr. William Makis noted in an Aug. 16 Substack.com report.
A long time colleague said the pilot “was very fit and his untimely demise has come as a big shock for everyone who knew him.”
There were two more reports of pilots experiencing medical emergencies in the past two weeks.
Josh Yoder, co-founder and president of U.S. Freedom Flyers, said a United Airlines pilot suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness in flight on Aug 9.
The medical emergency reportedly occurred on a flight from Sarasota, Florida to Newark, New Jersey.
“The captain on United Airlines 1309 SRQ-EWR suffered a reported heart attack and loss of consciousness in flight. Paramedics met the aircraft at the gate. How are those ‘vaccines’ working out for everyone?” Yoder wrote.
On Aug. 7, a pilot reportedly lost consciousness on a flight from Japan to Taiwan.
“A co-pilot aboard Tigerair Flight IT237 suddenly fell unconscious en route from Japan to Taiwan on Monday (Aug. 7), but the flight was able to land safely without delay,” Taiwan News reported.
According to the report, the flight departed from Hakodate Airport in Japan at 2:45 p.m. and was flying to Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan. The captain of the flight communicated the medical emergency to Taoyuan airport’s air traffic control tower, per UDN.
The captain indicated the co-pilot was unwell with the emergency code “Pan Pan,” a request for urgent assistance with less severity than “Mayday,” which indicates immediate distress for aircraft.
Emergency medical services were dispatched to the flight gate at Taoyuan airport. Upon landing, the co-pilot was taken by ambulance to the hospital and discharged later that same day.
On Aug. 17, IndiGo pilot Manoj Subramanium, 40, who was to operate a flight from Nagpur to Pune, India, fell unconscious and collapsed at the boarding gate. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead, the Hindustan Times cited sources as saying.
Aejaz Shami, a spokesperson for the hospital Subramanium was transported to, said the pilot lost his life due to “sudden cardiac arrest.”
“We are saddened at the passing of one of our pilots in Nagpur earlier today. He took unwell at Nagpur airport and was rushed to the hospital where he unfortunately passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones,” an IndiGo airline spokesperson said.
“The pilot had 27 hours of rest and was to operate four sectors today, including the Nagpur-Pune sector, which would have been his first for the day,” an airline official added.
“The pilot had operated two sectors on Wednesday,” said an official from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Makis noted other pilot incapacitations this year:
• July 19 – Eurowings Discover Flight 4Y-1205 (HER-FRA) Heraklion to Frankfurt, pilot incapacitated, first officer took control, landed safely.
• July 16 – 2006 Piper Meridian, flying from Westchester NY, crashed at Martha’s Vineyard Airport after pilot had a medical emergency upon final approach and a passenger took control of the plane and attempted a landing.
• June 7 – Air Canada Flight ACA692 (YYZ-YYT) Toronto to St.John’s, First Officer became incapacitated and the Captain assumed duties.
• June 4 – Cessna Citation N611VG flying Tennessee to Long Island, fighter jets spotted pilot slumped over in cockpit unconscious, plane crashed and all onboard died.
• May 11 – HiSKy Flight H4474 (DUB-KIV) Dublin to Chisinau (Moldova), 20 min after liftoff pilot became “unable to act”, plane diverted to Manchester.
• May 4 – British Charter TUI Airways Flight BY-1424 (NCL-LPA) Newcastle to Las Palmas Spain pilot became ill, plane diverted back to NCL.
• April 4 – United Airlines Flight 2102 (BOI-SFO) – captain was incapacitated, first officer was only one in control of the aircraft.
"There's a number of pilots out there who are fearful to come forward and speak"Pilot Greg Pearson share's the story of his rapid onset atrial fibrillation after getting vaccinated against #COVID19. Get Real News➡️https://t.co/Yvs2pSjssg pic.twitter.com/Ya6Ho3dOnX — Real America's Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) December 20, 2021
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