Tragedy in the Sky: Pilot Dies While Flying Plane Mid-Flight, Co-Pilot Saves the Day [Audio]

Tragedy in the Sky: Pilot Dies While Flying Plane Mid-Flight, Co-Pilot Saves the Day [Audio]

Flight 550, carrying 147 passengers from Phoenix to Boston, made an unscheduled stop in Syracuse, New York. In mid-flight the Captain and lead pilot starting feeling unwell. I’m assuming he passed out and died of a heart attack, but who knows? The stewardess on hand tried bravely to save him… she is a former nurse. Unfortunately, he was gone. The plane dropped sharply and shook. But the co-pilot was a hero that day and a professional. He took the controls, called in for an emergency landing and brought the plane gently and smoothly to earth. It could have been much, much worse. There was panic trying to save the Captain, but there was also resolve to save everyone on board. Good for both the stewardess and the co-pilot – American Airlines is lucky to have them.

American Airlines

From the Daily Mail:

An American Airlines captain died at the controls mid-flight despite desperate attempts by an air stewardess to revive him.

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The pilot of Flight 550, whose name has not been released, was flying from Phoenix to Boston on Monday morning when he became ‘incapacitated’.

Taking control of the airbus, the first officer sent a panicked radio message to emergency ground control demanding permission to land as an air stewardess – a former nurse – fought to save his life.

Passengers told CBS News they felt a sharp drop and some turbulence before the co-pilot announced the captain was ‘feeling unwell’.

The cause of death has not been released.

The plane carrying 147 passengers and a crew of five landed in Syracuse, New York, at 7.13am ET.

According to passengers, the EMTs did not appear to rush on to the airplane. Airlines cannot legally pronounce somebody dead in the air.

In a statement emailed to Daily Mail Online, an American Airlines spokesman said: ‘Unfortunately, our captain passed away. We are incredibly saddened by this event, and we are focused on caring for his family and our colleagues.

‘We also took care of our customers and sent a replacement crew to [Syracuse] to get them to Boston.

‘They arrived safely and without incident at [approximately] 12.30pm local time in Boston.’

The plane departed Phoenix, Arizona, at 12.08am mountain standard time.

The moment the first officer radioed in the emergency can be heard in an audio recording first shared on

‘Medical emergency, captain is incapacitated, request handling for runway 108,’ says the pilot.

After landing, a new crew was enlisted to fly the passengers to Boston’s Logan Airport. They arrived shortly after 12.30pm local time.

One passenger on board the flight took to Twitter to express her sadness at what had happened.

Louise Anderson, from Boston, said: ‘The pilot died on our redeye back to Boston (leading to 4h in Syracuse). life is short. do what you love before it’s too late.’

MailOnline Travel believes the delay was because ground control had to listen to the recordings from the flight, with the passenger saying the crew ‘handled it professionally’.

The EMTs evidently did not hurry getting to the plane. They had to listen to the emergency audio and I assume they were making sure there was not some kind of terrorist event on board. One passenger tweeted about the pilot dying – that you should do what you love before it is too late. That’s very, very true. We just never know. No one was hurt, except of course for the deceased Captain. Now, the family, crew and others will grieve his sudden loss. But because of a quick thinking co-pilot, who relied on his training and skills, there won’t be a bunch more funerals to attend. The cause of death is not known yet, but sometimes these things just happen. It was his time and he died doing what he loved. This had as happy an ending as it could given the circumstances. Tragedy in the sky did not turn into tragedy on the ground thankfully.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - She also does research at You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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