An Alaska Airlines plane en route to Seattle was forced to make an emergency landing in Portland, Ore., Thursday night after the pilot lost consciousness.
The co-pilot on Flight 473, traveling from Los Angeles to Seattle, took control of the plane and landed safely at Portland International Airport a little after 9 p.m. Thursday, Alaska Airlines
spokesman Paul McElroy told ABC News.
The pilot, who has not been identified, passed out "somewhere over Oregon," McElroy said, and reportedly suffers from an undisclosed medical condition.
A doctor on board tended to the pilot as the co-pilot took control and landed the Boeing 737-700, which was carrying 116 passengers and five crew members, safely with no injuries.
"It's very rare that we have a pilot pass out, lose consciousness or have a physical impairment in the cockpit, but when it does that's the reason why we have two people up there very well trained," ABC aviation analyst and former Alaska Airlines pilot John Nance told ABC News. "Your very first job as a co-pilot, if the captain should keel over, in this instance is to fly the airplane. That's the number one. Try to revive him and figure out what's going on if you can."
The Portland Fire Department and other emergency personnel met the plane at the gate, and the pilot taken by an ambulance to the hospital. He has been flying with Alaska Airlines for 28 years, while the co-pilot is an 11-year Alaska Air veteran, according to ABC News.
A new flight crew was dispatched and the remaining passengers continued to Seattle on the same plane overnight.
A similar incident occurred Jan. 22 when another Alaska Airlines flight made an emergency landing after the co-pilot fainted.
"At this point we do not believe there was a connection between the two incidents," McElroy told ABC News.
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