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United flight diverted after pilot has heart attack

A United Airlines flight from Houston to Seattle was diverted to Boise, Idaho Thursday night after the pilot suffered a heart attack, Boise Airport spokesperson Patti Miller said in a statement obtained by CBS Boise affiliate KBOI-TV. ( Altro...

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RIP Captain
Jim Murray 2
One day in the late 50s I was working dispatch in MSP when the copilot on an NWA DC-6 flight over Wisconsin reported the captain had died of an apparent heart attack and that he was returning to MSP. He was in his late 50s. Passengers helped in removing the body from the left seat and the copilot, Stevenson his name as I recall, brought the plane back by himself. Yes, it is good there are two pilots up front.
I had a stroke at 39 years old. Fully recovered but chose not to fly which was the hardest decision ever but chose responsibility and safety first. We don't know the full storey here and how many storeys have we heard "he was fit, ran 10kms a day etc. then full stop.
That was a safe choice.

As far as commercial airliners, we have 2 pilots. So even if one pilot hits a full stop, we have a fully capable pilot in the other seat to get the plane on the ground safely.

As far as going, you gotta go when you gotta go. And we all gotta go sometime.
Sean Kelly 1
"Flight 1603 landed in Boise just before 8 p.m., local time..." and then "The Boeing 737 was still in Boise early Friday..." We must be mixing timezones? It isn't even Friday in Boise yet.
preacher1 2
Well, it is confusing, depending on which story you choose. UAL says it was a crew member not Captain. One media account says plane continued on to Seattle and another says pax are still in Boise. ?????????????
Ryan Ri 1
ATC Recording
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Pilot has heart attack during flight

So very sorry to hear about the loss of this pilot. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
It was the captain. It is being reported that the hospital in Boise says the (patient) captain has died. ATC recordings clearly show the co-pilot stating that they have a "man down", "chest compressions going on the floor" "can we have an ambulance meet us on the runway and maybe a set of air stairs?"

Condolences to the pilot's family, who it is reported have been notified.
Here's a link to more up to date report on this diversion:

I heard the ATC recording in a report, but I'd Boise ATC recording is available online, maybe someone can post a link to the actual recording of the transmissions last night.
A more thorough report:
He was 63, that is a Datapoint not to be ignored for sure. Nor should we jump to conclusions. There are younger guys falling asleep on the job too!
I wonder if the FAA is collecting data on the Statistics for Passing/Failing 1st Class Medicals for the 55-60 vs 61-65 crowd. These are largely uncharted waters.
preacher1 1
It will be interesting. Same age as me. As John says below some stuff can be pointed to or outright detected but some of it will just jump out and bite you in the butt.
mfbutzin 1
I was in my late forties when I had the first of seven heart attacks, with no previous signs and I had just had a complete physical.
skylloyd 1
I just read a local news report that the pilot was 2 years shy of mandatory retirement and had a weight problem-300 lbs.This all remains to be seen.
If the report is true, the age isn't the issue, it's the weight and overall health. 63 is still a very young age. There should be so many people getting heart attacks in their 50's, 60's and 70's. It is purely a product of the foods that marketed to us and that we choose to eat.

And a person doesn't need to be overweight to get a heart attack, although the risk does go up substantially with obesity. A skinny person can be fatty on the inside, and have blood vessels that are getting plaqued over, and look like a Greek statue on the outside. But it only gets worse from there. The more flab you see on the outside, the likelier you'll see it on the inside too.
preacher1 1
Don't know about the weight problem. He was 63 and mandatory retirement was initially 60 for ATP. Changed to 65 sometime prior to Nov of 09. I already had mine planned and transition set so I just held it. Unless they change it again, there are many that are still working or have came back to work, that will have to hang up spurs next year.
One man operation on a commercial ship never will be acceptable.
Condolences to his family and friends.

Roland, don't be so sure. Already we ride between terminals on unmanned trains. It is just a matter of time before automation takes over the functions of the pilot to operate the systems aboard.
Good point...but a train operates on three dimensions only.

[This poster has been suspended.]

mfbutzin 2
How would retirement at 58 help? I was in my forties when I had my first...My old man died at 53..
By the time a lot of pilots get a decent captains' gig these days they are already in their early are you saying that they should enjoy their 15 year career?
canuck44 0
Like Global Warming there is no science behind that statement only emotion. Age is a factor but relatively minor compared to many other measurable parameters. I would support a more rigorous investigation of much of the body after 55 to include carotid ultrasounds, cardiac scans, pulmonary function test, stress tests etc. None of these are invasive like a cardiac catherization, but will spot many problems before they become clinically evident.

If done at 55 some may need to be repeated annually and others every two to five years based on results not some arbitrary age standard. It would be fairly easy for the airlines to get together and agree on a "package" of blood tests, imaging and function tests that could essentially be completed in 24 hours.
preacher1 1
Most of that, in some form, is already in the class1 physical and it is required every 6 mos past 50. And they(FAA) do look it over pretty close, at least this bunch out her in OKC. I have been on Waivers for a touch of AFib since about 04, Diabetes longer than that. Those waivers require consults between the AME and your personal physician. At this point and time, FAA seems to defer to them on granting them. Some may be but mine aren't a pencil whip as both Drs. have detailed statements in there that can hang their a**.
canuck44 2
Some tests are now utilized and some are not. If you have AF and it is controlled and you don't have a clot in one of your chambers, continue on anticoagulants and have and ECHO every six months there should be no risk, but for the individual with a thrombus floating around in a heart chamber his future is desk flying.

I guess the point is that non-invasive testing is available beyond a standard EKG and knee tap. Sure the non-invasive tests may point to invasive testing, but we do have the ability to diagnose and treat many potential problems to the pilot but if necessary to remove individuals from the system before a tragedy like this happens.
preacher1 1
I get EKG monthly from my GP and he prescribes the cumadin. Cardiologist pissed him off a couple of years ago when he told me that as long as I wasn't having any pain, etc. that he woud not prescribe a thinner of any kind. He likes that as there is a measure standard to check it with. Heart cath 2 years ago with less than 10% blockage. No echo or stress test in a good while; they tell me that while the cumadin and all has things under control that a clot could jup in there about anytime and really mess thing up. The ticker is not something to play around with.
Even with your afib, you're probably a safer bet than most other pilots because you're being so closely monitored. Less than 10% blockage is good. But 2 years is a long time, especially if the good news from the cath, resulted in being less careful with eating and exerise choices. But if you take care of yourself, there's no reason for your blockage to worsen.

I'd have to agree with John. There are lots of diagnostic tests, many of them non-invasive, that can tell us a lot about a person's condition. An EKG just doesn't cut it.

Someone can pass a physical and have a beautiful EKG, before having a heart attack. In fact, based on the heart attack being fatal within minutes ot hours of first onset, this pilot may well have had a widowmaker heart attack.

The first symptom is often sudden death. Age is not the best indicator of when pilots should be forced to retire. But better testing that give us better visibility into a pilot's cardiac health would be welcome. The more thorough testing would have the welcome side effect of saving a few lives.
mfbutzin 2
Even with diet and exercise both my brother and I had heart attacks after a Cath procedures confirmed no blockages in the other parts of the heart, within one year of having had. The stent later blocked again. So never say never. I have had many echo cardiograms and some were done short months before heart attacks.
preacher1 1
Well, I can guarantee ya the less than 10 did not result in a diet going downhill. If anything, because of the age it tightened down somewhat, with Lipitor on the side as an added measure. So far so good but t you reach a point where you realize you ain't a spring chicken anymore. I think there is an Echo and stress in my future
preacher1 1
I will add that a previous cath 5 years earlier than that one showed exactly the same and at that point came the medication as precautionary. Like I said below, I feel an Echo and stress coming on and may even get a cath, whether I want one or not.
The cath is a gold standard as far as a diagnostic tool to directly check out blockages. But it's an invasive procedure, and all procedures have risks. So you don't want to get those more than necessary.

With the statin and thinner, you've already covered your bases pharmacologically.

But what we're fighting is not age, we're just seeing the results of our eating choices. The standard American diet (SAD) causes the cardiovascular, diabetic, and cerebral effects that most people associate with age. But it's not particular to US alone. All developed countries have increasingly rich diets with matching impact on disease. China now has the largest numbers of people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as large numbers of their people move from the countryside to the cities, and their diets changed accordingly.

They've looked at the levels of disease in many countries. The results are fairly universal. As countries move to diets of more processed foods, higher levels of animal fats and more sweeteners, their health outcomes go down.

So even eating "normal" is lethal. Most will die early or experience premature disability due mostly to the foods they eat.

It's not by accident that the pilot in this case and others (eg. like James Gandolfini) get into trouble while traveling for work or pleasure. Many people make poorer choices "letting loose", while away from home, and experience more stress, eg staying on schedule and "getting to the plane".
My heartfelt condolences to the family of the Pilot of United 1603. 59 yrs ago, at just 14, I lived the same experience and know first hand what involves. My dad, did not have a chance as he was flying alone and the aircraft creashed.At least they both died doing what they liked the most, flying.
For those who talk about age and flying, heart attacks are unpredictable. My dad had his mandatory exam Friday, was told that there was no problems, and on Monday night he had the heart atack. For me is simply fate.
God bless all the pilots and safe flying everybody.
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

United Airlines Pilot Suffers Heart Attack WHile Flying From Houston To Seattle

The pilot of United Airlines flight 1603, a Boeing 737 flying from Houston to Seattle, died while in the air, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing in Boise Idaho around 8:00pm local time on Thursday.

According to reports from the FAA, and the Boise airport, the airplane...
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

United makes emergency landing due to Pilot having heart attack

A United Airlines flight en route to Seattle made an emergency landing at Boise when the Pilot suffered a heart attack.
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Captain of diverted flighted flight dies after heart attack

An airline captain who suffered a heart attack mid-flight, causing his United Airlines plane to divert to Boise, Idaho, died Thursday night, the airline said Friday.


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