American Airlines pilot dies mid-flight – with 152 passengers on board

By Samantha Luiz
06 October 2015

The captain of an American Airlines flight died while piloting a plane, leaving the co-pilot to make an emergency landing with 147 passengers and 5 crew members on board.

The captain of an American Airlines flight died while piloting a plane, leaving the co-pilot to make an emergency landing with 147 passengers and 5 crew members on board.

The Airbus 320, captained by Michael Johnston (57), was en-route from Phoenix to Boston before being diverted to Syracuse.

Before the plane could land in its new destination, the co-pilot called the airport tower. "American 550. Medical emergency. Captain is incapacitated.” According to some reports, a flight attendant, who happened to be a former nurse, attempted to provide first aid to the captain but it was too late.

'Captain is incapacitated'

An autopsy and preliminary toxicology tests "showed that the death was the result of natural diseases.”

Michael’s wife told KUTV that he had a double bypass surgery in 2006. She was reportedly told he likely died of a heart attack.

"Whatever happened in the cockpit, none of us will know," passenger Frank Cacciola told WCVB.

"[The crew] took extraordinary care of Mike, each other and our customers," read a statement from the airline.

"We couldn't be more proud of the teamwork this crew showed during an extremely difficult time. Our airport teams in Syracuse and Boston were also instrumental in assisting our customers, and their handling is also greatly appreciated."

Sources: cnn.com, foxnews.com

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