​Alaska Airlines Pilot Passes Out In Passenger Cabin From Midair Fainting Spell

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February 2, 2013
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An Alaska Airlines co-pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after his captain passed out. The Seattle-bound flight landed in Oregon after its veteran captain after fainting in the passenger cabin, the second such incident involving the U.S. carrier in 10 days.

Alaska Airlines Pilot Passes Out

Flight crew and passengers helped revive the pilot and guide him into a vacant passenger seat, while the co-pilot took control of the Boeing 737-700 and safely landed in Portland late on Thursday, airline spokesman Paul McElroy said.

“Doctors suspect he became ill due to food poisoning or the flu virus,” McElroy said of the pilot, a 28-year aviation veteran, adding that none of the 116 passengers and five crew members on board the flight from Los Angeles was injured.

The FAA is still investigating the incident.

The pilot was taken to a Portland hospital where he received treatment. According to McElroy, the pilot was in good condition on Friday.

Hylan Slobodkin, a Seattle-area rabbi who was traveling with his wife, said he saw the pilot fall and hit his head and then heard a flight attendant call for help.

“There definitely were some passengers panicking,” Slobodkin said. “But the plane never lunged, it never veered off track, it seemed really steady.”