Passengers not told pilot dead

2009-06-19 10:31

kalahari.com

  • Boeing
    Founded in 1916, Boeing Commercial Airplanes is the premier aircraft builder in the USA and one of... Now R437.00
    buy now

Newark - The passengers on Continental Airlines Flight 61 didn't know anything was wrong with their trans-Atlantic crossing until they landed and were met by fire trucks, emergency vehicles and dozens of clamoring reporters.

Their pilot was dead.

"I was shocked," said Dora Dekeyser, of Houston. "Nobody knew anything."

The plane's 60-year-old captain had died of a suspected heart attack midway through Thursday's flight from Brussels, and two co-pilots had taken over the controls.

The crew of the Boeing 777 made an announcement over the loudspeaker asking if there was a doctor on board, but Martha Love, of Greenwich, New Jersey, who was sitting in the first row of the plane, didn't suspect anything was amiss. The flight attendants continued to serve snacks. Passengers read magazines and watched movies. And the flight stayed on schedule.

"No one knew," said Love, who only became concerned after the plane landed and she saw emergency vehicles lined up along the runway.

Dr Julien Struyven, 72, a cardiologist and radiologist from Brussels, examined the pilot in the cockpit and tried to revive him using a defibrillator. But it was too late. Struyven said there was "no chance at all" of saving him.

Simon Shapiro, a passenger from the Brooklyn region of New York City, was also unaware. "I didn't hear anything or see anything," he said. "I was wondering why there were so many cops."

Passenger Kathleen Ledger, 45, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, said she learnt about what had happened when her cellphone rang after landing. "My husband called me and told me," she said.

She was impressed with the way the flight crew handled themselves and did not think passengers needed to be informed of the death during the flight. "They did an incredible job," she said. "I would have done the exact same thing."

The dead pilot was based in Newark and had worked for Continental for 32 years, the airline said. Continental did not release the name of the pilot. A source speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information identified him as Craig Lenell.

Tom Donaldson, a former leader of the Continental pilots' union who currently flies Boeing 767 jets for the airline, said pilots must pass an extensive physical every six months to remain qualified to fly. The exam includes an electrocardiogram, blood pressure check and a vision test.

For long routes such as trans-Atlantic flights, a third pilot is aboard to permit the captain or first officer to take rest breaks.

Donaldson said there is no specific training on how to react if a crew member becomes incapacitated, but any one of the three pilots is fully qualified to operate the jet.

"Clearly you want another set of eyes watching when you're going down a checklist, but you're capable of flying the airplane yourself," he said. "You can put the gears down, put the flaps down and carry out your other duties by yourself in an emergency."

In 2007, another Continental pilot died at the controls after becoming ill during a flight from Houston to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It landed safely with a co-pilot at the controls after being diverted to McAllen, Texas.

Associated Press writers Beth DeFalco in Trenton, New Jersey, and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

- AP
Read more on:    boeing  |  heart attack
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Montague Gardens 18:07 PM
Road name: Montague Drive

ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect delays

Kuils River 18:05 PM
Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound

ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - expect delays

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.