Continental Pilot Dies Midflight, Crew Lands Jet Safely

CNN is reporting that the pilot of Continental Flight 61 from Brussels to Newark died midflight, forcing a relief pilot to take over the controls of the Boeing 777.

The pilot, who had more than 20 years of service to the airline, died of natural causes. The flight landed safely at Newark.

Pilot dies midflight, FAA says [CNN]


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  1. bagumpity says:

    Did he have the fish?

  2. Joewithay says:

    Natural causes at 61?

    • Joewithay says:

      @Joewithay: Wow he was 61 and he died on flight 61 weird….

    • K-Bo says:

      @Joewithay: Just means foul play wasn’t suspected. Doesn’t mean it’s not related to too many not-so-natural fast food meals.

    • katstermonster says:

      @Joewithay: Heart attack = natural causes. Stroke = natural causes.

      NOT saying that either one happened, just that these things (a) are considered natural causes, and (b) have happened to people much younger than 61. Not unheard of at all.

    • MadAsFishGrease_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @Joewithay: Agreed. It must have been Stewardess Brown with the pipe in the black box room. Or it might have been Passenger Plum with a candlestick in the galley….

  3. WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

    “Hey I know you, you’re Kareem Abdul Jabar!”

  4. TVGenius says:

    Was Kenan Thompson there to land it?

  5. MadAsFishGrease_GitEmSteveDave says:

    I feel kind of weird. I’m right under the flight path for EWR at my office, and we have had BADDD rain all day. Of course, if the pilot dies, there’s always a stewardess to land the plane. But seriously, my sympathy to the family.

    Also, and perhaps I am wrong, but I was always told that you are never pronounced dead on the plane, as it would have to be impounded for an investigation, but rather, you are pronounced on the “bridge”/terminal, to avoid losing a plane for awhile.

    • K-Bo says:

      @MadAsFishGrease_GitEmSteveDave: I suspect that where you are pronounced dead has to do with whether there is someone with the authority to make the pronouncement is on the plane. I haven’t read anything saying how/when he was pronounced dead, or even if he has been pronounced dead, but I’m glad to see Continental doesn’t have a crazy corporate policy of not allowing first officers to take over until the pilot is examined and pronounced dead by 4 coroners on the ground or anything crazy like that.

  6. dmolavi says:

    bad week for continental. first two kids get routed incorrectly, now this. things happen in 3’s as they say…

  7. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    Relief pilot? So in addition to the First Officer (Co-Pilot) there was also an additional relief pilot on board (likely due to the long haul duration of the flight).

    Sorry for being so nit picky on this, but the write up suggests there was no pilot to take the controls following the death… Yes, there were apparently two other qualified pilots on board.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Dear Consumerist,

    As an infrequent, but nervous flier, I would like to politely request you stop making me feel nervous and panicky with these stories of misplaced children, pilots who meet their demise mid-flight, and non-English-speaking mechanics. I like my dream world of perfectly running engines and healthy (and bi-lingual) crew members, and would like to request more cat photos, especially for today.


    Pecan Pi

  9. Megalomania says:

    what was so coincidental about it?

  10. tmed says:

    If I’ve learned anything from TV, this guy did not die of natural causes. Mr. Monk, get in here!

  11. mannyv says:

    Where do they put the dead pilot during the flight? Do they drag him down the aisle a la Airplane? Do they just leave his fetid, stinky corpse in the cockpit?

  12. Smashville says:

    Does the relief pilot get credited with a save?