Ryanair co-pilot praised for carrying out emergency landing

Actions taken after captain fell unconscious on flight to Canaries

Stock image of a Ryanair flight. A co-pilot for the airline was praised when he carried out an emergency landing after his captain passed out.

Stock image of a Ryanair flight. A co-pilot for the airline was praised when he carried out an emergency landing after his captain passed out.

 

A Ryanair co-pilot who performed an emergency flight landing after the captain passed out has been commended for his actions in a report.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit said the co-pilot, who possesses an Irish flying licence, took control of the October 2013 flight from East Midlands Airport in the UK to the Canary Islands after the main pilot fell unconscious following a bout of illness.

The captain had been suffering from a head cold during the week prior to the flight and was returning to duty after four days off.

According to investigation notes, the flight was routine until it approached the northern coast of Spain, at which point the captain started to feel unwell.

His condition deteriorated significantly and his 26 year-old co-pilot took control of the aircraft before making an emergency landing in Lisbon.

On arrival, the captain decided to bring the plane to its parking stand after touchdown having regained consciousness. He then received medical attention, and was transported to the UK on the same day.

Lead investigator Leo Murray said the sudden incapacitation of a flight crew member was a “rare but serious” occurrence, adding that the co-pilot “assumed the command role and took appropriate and considered actions to ensure the safe conclusion of the flight”.

He said “the emergency was well handled to a safe conclusion”, and outlined how pilot training courses aim to equip members to deal with such an eventuality and to plan and communicate a course of action effectively.

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