Pilot dies in washroom 3 hours after US flight took off with 271 passengers

The flight had to be diverted because of the medical emergency

By Web Desk

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File photo
File photo

Published: Fri 18 Aug 2023, 9:26 AM

A veteran pilot of Latam Airlines died after suffering a medical emergency on a flight from Florida, US, to Chile's capital Santiago.

Feeling ill about three hours into the flight, the 56-year-old captain went to the washroom but never returned, according to media reports.

Crew members tried saving him as the plane — with 271 passengers on board — was diverted Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport. The diversion took half an hour, but upon landing, emergency responders declared the pilot dead.

The airline confirmed the incident in a statement: "Latam Airlines Group reports that flight LA505 yesterday (August 14), which was on the Miami-Santiago route, had to land at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama due to a medical emergency for one of the three members of the command crew. When the plane landed, emergency services provided life-saving help, but the pilot sadly passed away."

A relief captain and a first officer took over the cockpit when the incident happened, according to another report.

Latam assured that all necessary safety protocols were carried out. It also apologised to passengers for the delay. The flight resumed the next day, landing at Santiago around 4am.


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