It is every traveler’s nightmare. Imagine this. The pilot has a mental breakdown mid-air and the flight attendant has to make an emergency landing. No, its not a Naked Gun remake, its real life.
The bizarre and terrifying incident occurred on board an Air Canada flight bound for the UK. It began with the co-pilot speaking in “rambling and disjointed” conversation, according to air accident investigators. He was then forcibly removed by the crew (one of which suffered minor injuries!), and restrained. The captain then ordered the crew to find someone who could fly a plane, and luckily, a female flight attendant offered her services as she had a commercial pilot’s license (so what was she doing being a flight attendant?).
The plane in peril made a safe emergency landing in Ireland’s Shannon Airport, and the disturbed co-pilot was whisked away to the psychiatric unit of a local hospital. According to the Telegraph newspaper:
“….The official report into the incident by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) did not explicitly refer to the co-pilot’s medical condition.
But it recorded the views of two doctors onboard that he was in a “confused and disorientated state”.
The captain also reported that his senior colleague became uncharacteristically “belligerent and unco-operative” and was “effectively incapacitated”.
One passenger at the time reported seeing the distraught co-pilot yelling for God as he was being restrained.
The AAIU praised the actions of both the captain and crew in diverting to the nearest airport and removing the co-pilot from the controls.
“For his own well-being and the safety of the aircraft, the most appropriate course of action was to stand him down from duty and seek medical attention which was available on board,” said the report.
“The commander (captain) realising he was faced with a difficult and serious situation used tact and understanding and kept control of the situation at all times.
“The situation was dealt with in a professional manner… As such the commander and flight attendants should be commended for their professionalism in the handling of this event.”
There were no safety recommendations from the investigation.”