SEATTLE Feb 1 A Seattle-bound Alaska Airlines
flight made an emergency landing in Oregon after its veteran
pilot passed out in the passenger cabin, in the second such
fainting spell involving the U.S. carrier in 10 days, the
airline said on Friday.
Flight crew and passengers helped revive the pilot and guide
him into a vacant passenger seat while the co-pilot took control
of the Boeing 737-700 and safely landed in Portland late on
Thursday, airline spokesman Paul McElroy said.
"Doctors suspect he became ill due to food-poisoning or the
flu virus," McElroy said of the pilot, a 28-year aviation
veteran, adding that none of the 116 passengers and five crew
members on board the flight from Los Angeles were injured.
The pilot was hospitalized in Portland, and McElroy said the
two fainting episodes were a "bizarre coincidence."
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said
investigators did not immediately see a connection between the
incident and a similar situation on Jan. 22 in which an Alaska
Airlines co-pilot fainted on a flight between Seattle and Las
Vegas, forcing the captain to make an emergency landing.
"That first officer was infected with the flu. We know that
for sure," McElroy said.