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Great Britain. In-flight tragedy. The instructor had a heart attack, the pilot thought he was joking

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British investigators have determined that the cause of death of a 57-year-old flight instructor, who collapsed in mid-flight last summer, was acute heart failure. “The pilot knew the instructor well and thought that he was only pretending to nap. He did not realize that something was wrong” – noted in the report.

The incident took place on June 29, 2022, on board a plane that took off from Blackpool, Lancashire, England. According to a report published in February 2023 by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), the 57-year-old instructor agreed to accompany the qualified pilot on the flight. The man suffered a “sudden fatal heart attack” while the Piper PA-28-161 was in the air.

The pilot, who was at the controls of the plane, told investigators that shortly after takeoff, the instructor’s head turned to the side, but he did not pay much attention to it. “The pilot knew the instructor well and thought he was just pretending to nap. (…) At this stage, he had no idea that anything was wrong,” the report explained.

Moments later, as investigators pointed out, the 57-year-old slid down to the bottom of his seat and his head rested on the pilot’s shoulder. However, he was still convinced that the instructor was joking. The fact that his companion had really lost consciousness, the man was to realize only after landing. The report noted that members of the airport staff tried to save the instructor, but he died.

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Acute heart failure cause of death

Investigators determined that the cause of death of the 57-year-old was acute heart failure. As medical analyzes showed, the instructor had a heart attack, as well as signs of atherosclerosis. In addition, he had a history of high blood pressure and had been taking blood pressure medication since 2002, the report added.

The pilot testified that before the instructor lost consciousness, he did not notice anything abnormal in his behavior. Other people who had contact with him on June 29 also did not notice anything disturbing. “Three trainees who had flown with him on training flights earlier in the day said he looked fine and nothing alarming was going on,” the authors of the report said.

They also explained that the deceased was an experienced instructor who had flown more than nine thousand hours, 184 of them in the last 90 days before his death. The AAIB stressed in the report that after the tragedy, the plane landed safely, but “had the incident occurred on another flight (with a less qualified pilot – ed.), the result could have been different.”

SEE ALSO: Initial report after the disaster in Nepal. Media: the pilots accidentally pulled the levers that turned off the engines

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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