Pilot of United Flight 1603 Dies After Heart Attack, Emergency Plane Landing
A United Airlines pilot has died after suffering a heart attack while flying from Houston to Seattle. The pilot of United flight 1603 suffered what is believed to be a heart attack in midair en route to Seattle, forcing the plane to engage in an emergency landing in Boise, Idaho. Though he was alive when the Boeing 737 landed, a spokeswoman for the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center where he was treated confirmed that he died during the night.
In an email, Christen David, a spokeswoman for United Airlines wrote, "I am sad to confirm that our co-worker passed away last night. Our thoughts are with his family at this time."
The identity of the pilot has not yet been released by the airline.
During the flight, a crew member used the intercom to ask whether or not there was a doctor on board the flight. A passenger then went to the cockpit to assist. Passengers say that he was aided by two army soldiers who were also on board the flight.
Another passenger of flight 1603, who trains pilots to fly Boeing 737 planes, aided in the emergency landing.
According to recordings from communications between the flight and tower control, a copilot radioed in saying, "We've got a man down, chest compressions going on right now."
The flight made am emergency landing at around 8 p.m. on Thursday and emergency crews met the plane on the tarmac, rushing the pilot to the hospital.
Additional recordings from the plane capture another pilot contacting air traffic control to ask what happened. The control center responds, "Medical emergency, the captain."
The plane was carrying six crew members and about 161 passengers.
Passengers resumed their trip to Seattle on another flight that departed Boise shortly after 12 a.m. Friday.