American Eagle pilot dies after fainting during departure from Chicago O’Hare

An American Eagle Embraer E175 approaches to land.
Photo Credit: Aaron Davis, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – An American Eagle pilot became incapacitated during a departure from the Chicago O’Hare International Airport over the weekend. The pilot was reported to have fainted, and later died at the hospital after the aircraft carried out an emergency landing.

What we know

An American Eagle flight operated by Envoy Air, from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport (ORD), to Columbus, Ohio (CMH), returned to the O’Hare airport on November 20, after the captain passed out and became incapacitated not long after departure. Data shows that the flight was only about 10 minutes from take-off when the situation arose.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now investigating the event, after the captain was subsequently declared dead at the hospital.

Just after departure, the first officer of the flight transmitted a “Mayday” call via radio, before safely landing the Embraer E175-jet shortly after and getting the 57 passengers and crew on the ground without further problems.


The screenshot from shows the same flight just days after the incident, visualizing the flight path originally planned, with incident’s flight path being a small circuit around the airport.

The regional carrier Envoy Air, owned by American Airlines, released a short statement on the incident, saying: “Despite heroic efforts by those on board and first responders on the ground, our colleague passed away at the hospital,”


A recording of the radio communications between ATC and the aircraft can be heard here:

This is a developing story. AviationSource will update once new information is available. Check back for updates.

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