Pilot believed his co-pilot who suffered a cardiac arrest and died in the cockpit was playing a prank and only realised what happened after landing, report reveals
- Pilot said he thought the 57-year-old instructor was ‘pretending to take a nap’
- It was only when he landed at Blackpool Airport he knew something was ‘wrong’
A pilot thought his colleague was joking and carried on flying after he died in the cockpit mid-flight, according to a safety report.
The pilot said he thought the 57-year-old instructor was ‘pretending to take a nap’ and was ‘just joking’ after his head rolled back and slumped over shortly after taking off from Blackpool Airport, Lancashire, last June.
But the instructor, who was his ‘normal cheerful self’ on the morning of the flight, had actually suffered acute cardiac failure and died in the cockpit of the Piper PA-28-161 aircraft.
It was only when the pilot landed the aircraft and started to taxi back on the runway did he realise his colleague was not responding and realised ‘something was wrong’.
The pilot said he thought the 57-year-old instructor was ‘pretending to take a nap’ and was ‘just joking’ after his head rolled back and slumped over shortly after taking off from Blackpool Airport, Lancashire, last June (Stock image of a similar aircraft)
The report said: ‘The pilot knew the instructor well and thought he was just pretending to take a nap whilst the pilot flew the circuit, so he did not think anything was wrong at this stage. He proceeded to fly the aircraft round the circuit.’
It added that the pilot noticed his colleague was ‘still resting on his shoulder’ and realised something was wrong.
He quickly signalled to the airport fire crew, who contacted the air ambulance medical crew who are based at the airport.
But the instructor remained unresponsive and they were unable to save him, according to the report.
The instructor had medical history of high blood pressure and had been taking blood pressure medication since 2002 but had passed a medical test four months before his death.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it continually reviewed health guidance and the ‘rarity’ of accidents caused by cardiac events in flight ‘suggests the balance is currently about right’.
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