Earlier this week, a pilot collapsed on a Southwest Airlines flight, marking the fifth instance in three weeks across airlines globally.
The Incident on Southwest Airlines Flight 6013…
Dr. William Makis made this report this week, which involved Flight 6013 between Las Vegas and Columbus, with Pilot Josh Yoder saying the following:
“I’m being notified by passengers on a Southwest flight departing Las Vegas that the captain became incapacitated soon after takeoff this morning.”
“He was removed from the flight deck and replaced by a non-Southwest pilot who was commuting on that flight.”
“This is now the fifth pilot incapacitation that I’m aware of in the past two weeks.”
The Other Four Instances…
As well as the Southwest Airlines incident, there have been four other instances that Dr. Makis has reported on:
- March 3 – Virgin Australia flight from Adelaide to Perth was forced to make emergency landing due to pilot suffering heart attack.
- March 11 – United Airlines flight from Guatemala to Chicago diverted due to an “incapacitated pilot”.
- March 11 – British Airways pilot collapses and dies.
- March 13 – Emirates flight from Milan to New York’s JFK returned to Milan due to pilot illness.
This is bringing into question some debate around pilot fatigue and also general illness, as well as whether this is just a coincidence or more of a pattern that can be prevented.
It remains clear that the five incidents in the last few weeks have been part of an overall discussion around approaches to pilot fatigue and whether that causes illnesses that result in such diversions.
Looking ahead, it’s going to be interesting to see how much further this will go on, and whether there will be any other reports moving forward.
This is a developing story.