Tags: pilot | heart | attack | united | flight

Pilot Heart Attack Forces United Flight Into Emergency Landing

Friday, 27 Sep 2013 01:21 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A pilot who suffered a heart attack Thursday, forcing a United Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in Idaho, later died after being rushed to a hospital.

United flight 1603, en route to Seattle from Houston, was about an hour from its destination Thursday night when a crewmember made an in-flight announcement at 7 p.m. asking if anyone on board was a physician.

"We got a man down, chest compressions going on right now. I'm not sure too much right now."

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The plane was diverted and made a safe landing at Boise Airport. The pilot, whose name was not released, was rushed to Saint Alphonsus Hospital. He was later pronounced dead, CBS News reported.

"I am sad to confirm that our co-worker passed away last night," United spokeswoman Christen David said Friday in a statement. "Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

Passenger witnesses said all the crewmembers immediately jumped into action when the pilot's heart attack struck. One said the stewardesses dragged the man, who was reportedly more than 300 pounds, into the first-class cabin to perform CPR.

"I'm really impressed with all the flight attendants," passenger Bryant Magill told KOMO News. "They kept themselves calm. They kept it professional. There was no panic on the plane."

The flight and 161 passengers and six crewmembers on board later continued on to Seattle with a replacement captain.

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Commercial airline pilots under age 40 are required by FAA regulations to undergo a medical examination every year, while those over 40 must be examined every six months. Pilots must not have an established medical history or diagnosis of coronary heart disease that has required treatment, according to CNN.

Related stories:

Jet With President GW Bush Makes Emergency Landing

Ann Romney's Plane Makes Emergency Landing

Marco Rubio in Scare as Plane Forced Into Emergency Landing

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