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Envoy Air says pilot who was reported incapacitated during flight has died


An American Eagle Embraer 175 aircraft is seen on the tarmac through a plane window at LAX in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 10, 2018.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

An Envoy Air flight returned to Chicago shortly after takeoff on Saturday night after a pilot was incapacitated and later died, the carrier said Tuesday.

“Despite heroic efforts by those on board and first responders on the bottom, our colleague passed away on the hospital,” Envoy Air, a regional carrier owned by American Airlines, said in a press release. “We’re deeply saddened and are doing all we will to support his family and our colleagues presently.”

Capt. Ric Wilson, vp of Envoy’s flight operations, said in a note to staff that the pilot was a captain in training.

Envoy didn’t comment on the reason behind the medical emergency. The Air Line Pilots Association, the union which represents Envoy’s pilots, didn’t comment.

Envoy Air Flight 3556, an Embraer E175, flying for parent company American Airlines‘ American Eagle returned to Chicago O’Hare International Airport at 7:57 p.m. local time, 37 minutes after departing for Columbus, Ohio, in keeping with FlightRadar24.

An audio recording of messages to air traffic controllers indicates “captain is incapacitated,” in keeping with ATCLive, which has an archive on its website. “We will need paramedics,” said the person on the recording, who gave the impression to be one other pilot on the flight.

 Business jetliners are crewed by a minimum of two pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it’s investigating and a spokeswoman said that such incidents are rare.

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