United Airlines Co-Pilot On SFO-Bound Flight Loses Consciousness

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A United Airlines co-pilot lost consciousness on a Houston-to-San Francisco flight Tuesday morning, forcing it to be diverted to New Mexico.

Travel industry news website eTurboNews Group first reported the United flight was diverted to Albuquerque International Sunport after the co-pilot lost consciousness mid-flight.

A spokesperson for United later told KPIX 5 in an email “United flight 1614, from Houston to San Francisco, diverted to Albuquerque this morning when a crew member became ill. The aircraft landed safely. We’re working to get the customers to their final destinations.”

Word of the incident comes a day after an American Airlines pilot died during a flight from Phoenix to Boston. The co-pilot on the flight landed the plane safely in Syracuse, N.Y.

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  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — A United Airlines flight carrying nearly 200 people from Houston to San Francisco had to divert to Albuquerque, New Mexico, after the co-pilot passed out Tuesday.

    Air-traffic controllers got word shortly after 8 a.m. that the plane would be landing after the first officer, who is second in command, had a medical episode, Albuquerque airport spokesman Dan Jiron said. The plane landed without incident around 8:20 a.m.

    The co-pilot regained consciousness and was able to walk off the plane to be transported to a local hospital, Jiron said. He had no details about the co-pilot’s condition or what may have caused the episode.

    An airline spokeswoman said 177 passengers and 10 crew members were aboard the plane. United did not release any details about the co-pilot.

    The diversion comes a day after an American Airlines captain became gravely ill while flying from Phoenix to Boston. He later died. The flight was diverted and the first officer landed the plane safely in Syracuse, New York.

    According to the FAA, seven pilots for U.S. airlines and one charter pilot have died during flights since 1994.

    Captains and co-pilots usually take turns flying the plane and doing takeoffs and landings, said James Record, a former airline pilot who now teaches aviation at Dowling College in Oakdale, New York.

    “The advantage to that is the co-pilot gets an equal amount of experience, and the captain gets to see how the other guy flies,” he said.

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