Aviation

Pilot incapacitated during Perth to Hong Kong flight

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

A Cathay Pacific pilot was forced to call upon crew and passengers for help after becoming incapacitated mid-flight.

According to a preliminary report released by Hong Kong’s Air Accident Investigation Authority (AAIA), the pilot was operating a flight from Perth to Hong Kong on 21 February when he informed the first officer he felt out of breath and his vision was impaired.

The first officer took command of the aircraft and the crew sought medical assistance from a medical professional on board the plane and the company doctor in Hong Kong through the cockpit Satcom system.

According to the report, the captain’s condition was stabilised with the supply of oxygen and he remained conscious and in communication with the first officer throughout the flight, despite being designated as incapacitated.

Cathay Pacific Airways

The flight was granted priority approach upon landing in Hong Kong due to the medical emergency and a lower flight level to decrease the cabin pressure altitude to assist the captain’s recovery.

The incident was the second of its kind with another Cathay Pacific pilot reported losing visual acuity during a flight from Japan to Hong Kong on 26 January.

According to another report from AIAA, the pilot experienced a sudden loss of visual acuity for around 30 minutes and voluntarily relinquished control of the aircraft to the first officer.

The pilot secured the seat harness restraints, with the shoulder harnesses locked, to prevent any possible interruption with the operation of the aircraft.

“The AAIA will continue to collect and study all relevant information in order to determine the circumstances and causes of the serious incidents. More in-depth investigation and analysis have to be conducted before any conclusion can be drawn,” a spokesperson for AAIA said.

Travel Weekly has reached out to Cathay Pacific for comment but is yet to receive a response.

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