A 60-year-old pilot suffered an apparent heart attack on a
transatlantic flight from Brussels to Newark, but the co-pilot and
relief pilot landed the airplane safely at its destination.
The Associated Press is reporting that the crew o fFlight 61
asked for the assistance of a doctor, and several passengers
responded to the call. Dr. Julien Struyven, a cardiologist from
Brussels, said the pilot had died of a heart attack. He told the AP
he tried to revive the pilot using a defibrillator, but was unable
to do so.
Continental Airlines spokeswoman Arlene Salak said the FAA was
notified about 1030 Thursday that the Boeing 777 was being piloted
by the two co-pilots on board. The flight was given priority
handling when it arrived at Newark. Emergency crews were sent
to meet the plane as a precaution, which caused concern among some
of the passengers, who had not been informed about the
Tom Donaldson, a former Union head for Continental, told the
news service that a relief pilot flies long transatlantic routes
with the crew in case one of the pilots becomes fatigued. While no
specific training is provided in the event one of the regular crew
becomes incapacitated, he said any one of the pilots on board is
capable of flying the airplane.