Continental Airlines flight declares emergency after pilot dies

June 19th, 2009 - 2:52 pm ICT by admin  

NEWARK, New Jersey (BNO NEWS) – A Continental Airlines flight from Belgium to Newark, New Jersey declared an emergency after the pilot died in flight, officials told BNO News on Thursday.

The plane, a Boeing 777-200 carrying 247 passengers, took off from Brussels Airport in Belgium at around 10.06 a.m. local time (4.06 am EDT). It involved flight 61. “It is reported that the captain of the aircraft passed away,” said Arlene Salaca, who is a spokeswoman for the FAA. The airline said he “apparently” died of natural causes.

The crew on board included an additional relief pilot who took the place of the deceased pilot to assist the co-pilot during the remainder of the flight. “The flight continued safely with two pilots at the controls,” Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for Continental Airlines, said.

The deceased pilot was 60-years-old, Newark-based and had more than 32 years of service with the airline, his name was not immediately released. “The company has been in touch with his family and we extend our deepest sympathies,” Cripe said.

The aircraft safely landed at 11.49 a.m. EDT after it received “priority handling” at the airport. It was escorted by emergency vehicles to the gate.

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