Home Travel Pilot Thought Co-Pilot Was Pretending To Nap. No, He Had Died!

Pilot Thought Co-Pilot Was Pretending To Nap. No, He Had Died!

by SharonKurheg

A pilot continued to fly the plane he was in, despite his co-pilot suffering a cardiac arrest in the air and dying, according to an Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report out of the U.K.

The report said the aircraft’s pilot, a qualified flyer, was interested in going from Blackpool Airport to another airfield. But the crosswind was too high to fly on his own, so he asked the 57-year-old pilot, who worked as a flight instructor, to join him.

The pair took a 1978 Piper PA-28-161 (the agency calls it a G-BORL in its report).

Once in the air over Blackpool, the pilot in question said his colleague’s head rolled back. He thought the instructor was playing a joke on him by pretending to fall asleep. Even when the pilot made a turn and his friend’s body slumped and his head started resting on the pilot’s shoulder, he thought the guy was just playing around.

Instead, it turned out the instructor had suffered a fatal heart attack.

It was only when the pilot landed the aircraft and the instructor was still not moving that the horrible reality of the situation dawned on him.

There was a fire crew and ambulance staff at the airport where the pilot landed. They attempted to revive the instructor but despite all their best efforts, they were unsuccessful and the instructor, sadly, passed away.

Following the death, an investigation into the incident was launched by the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).

The Civil Aviation Authority’s medical department concluded that the deceased instructor had died from an acute cardiac arrest. They said that the deceased 57-year-old had a history of high blood pressure (controlled with medication for over 20 years) and had passed a medical exam only four months before the tragic incident.

They added they’ll continue to review health guidance as a result of this tragic event but added that accidents caused by cardiac events do happen, but are rare.

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