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Emirates flight makes emergency landing after pilot suffers ‘sudden illness’

Incidents grow more frequent, raise aviation safety concerns

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March 16, 2023

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04:26 AM

Emirates flight makes emergency landing after pilot suffers ‘sudden illness’

An Emirates flight from Milan to Dubai was forced to return to Malpensa airport after the flight’s first officer suffered a sudden, unidentified illness, reported Italian media Tuesday.

The episode happened an hour-and-a-half after takeoff, and the captain was able to make an emergency landing back in Milan. Medical personnel were waiting on the tarmac to take the pilot to receive urgent medical care.

The pilot’s state is unknown.

“Emirates flight EK205 from Milan to New York JFK on 13 March returned to Milan shortly after take-off due to operational reasons. The aircraft landed and passengers safely disembarked. All passengers provided with hotel accommodation and will continue their flight later today. Emirates apologizes for any inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance," Emirates told Frontline News.

Such incidents have become more frequent in the last two years, raising widespread concerns about aviation safety.

On Saturday, a United Airlines flight flying from Guatemala to Chicago was rerouted to Houston after the pilot reportedly suffered a medical emergency and became “incapacitated”. According to an internal communication, the pilot was suffering chest pains.

Last month, Frontline News reported that a UK pilot whose instructor died suddenly mid-flight thought the older pilot was pulling a prank.

The incident occurred in June 2022 during a training flight from an airfield in Blackpool. The pilot recalls speaking normally with the 57-year-old instructor, with whom he enjoyed a friendly rapport, as he taxied on the runway. Shortly after takeoff, the instructor’s head rolled back. The pilot thought the instructor was pretending to take a nap and proceeded to fly the circuit. During a turn, the instructor slumped forward with his head resting on the pilot’s shoulder. The pilot still thought the instructor was joking around.

After touchdown, the instructor still had not lifted his head from the pilot’s shoulder and was unresponsive. The pilot alerted other aircraft personnel and an ambulance was brought in, but medics were unable to revive the instructor.

A post-mortem report found that the instructor, who had passed his physical test two months ago and was fit to fly, had suffered sudden acute cardiac failure.

In November, a newly-hired Envoy Air pilot collapsed just minutes after takeoff and was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after an emergency landing, reported Frontline News. 

Other reported cases include a passenger with no flying experience miraculously landing a plane after its pilot suddenly suffered a cardiac event and passed out mid-flight.    

In another incident last year, American Airlines Captain Robert Snow suffered a cardiac arrest six minutes after landing, for which he blamed the COVID-19 vaccines.  

“This is what the vaccine has done for me,” Snow said in a video. “I will probably never fly again, based upon the criteria that the FAA establishes for pilots. I was hoping to teach my daughter to fly. She wants to be a pilot. That will probably never happen. All courtesy of the vaccine. This is unacceptable and I am one of the victims. You can see that this is the actual result of the vaccine for some of us. Mandatory, no questions asked. Get the shot or you’re fired. This is not the American way.”    

In yet another harrowing episode, Captain Cody Flint nearly blacked out during his flight two days after getting injected with the COVID-19 shots. While he safely landed the plane, Flint has no recollection of doing so.     

Public concern about air safety appears to be growing following these incidents, causing those who fly private to seek out pilots who have not been injected with the COVID-19 shots, according to pilots familiar with the industry. 

Captain Alan Dana, who was terminated by JetStar after 14 years of service for refusing to comply with its vaccine mandate, said on Maria Zeee Uncensored that unvaccinated pilots are in high demand among the wealthy. Dana cited US Freedom Flyers President and American Airlines First Officer Josh Yoder, who said he is inundated with calls requesting unvaccinated pilots, ostensibly for safety reasons. 

“He’s getting calls now from wealthy businessmen and companies to fly their executives around on business jets with unvaccinated crew,” said Dana. “Now, they get the luxury of being able to choose, because there are still a large amount of crew available in the United States who are not vaccinated because the companies they work for didn’t mandate it.” 

“These wealthy businessmen are requiring unvaccinated crew on their business trips,” Dana added. “Passengers on an airline who bought a ticket don’t have that luxury.”

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