Pi­lot dies af­ter tak­ing ill be­fore flight lands

No word of cause of death on Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 1353.

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS -

An ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Amer­i­can Air­lines pi­lot died af­ter be­com­ing ill just be­fore his plane landed in Albuquerque.

Dur­ing the flight from Dal­las-Fort Worth, the cap­tain de­clared an emer­gency and landed the plane at Albuquerque In­ter­na­tional Sun­port on Wed­nes­day night.

The plane tax­ied to a gate and was met by paramedics, who were un­able to save Wil­liam “Mike” Grubbs, 58, a Dal­las-based co-pi­lot.

Pas­sen­gers were ap­par­ently un­aware of the grav­ity of the in­ci­dent dur­ing the last min­utes of the flight but said the cap­tain told them af­ter land­ing that they would not be able to exit the plane im­me­di­ately be­cause of a med­i­cal emer­gency.

As of mid­day Thurs­day, there was no word on the cause of death.

Grubbs joined Amer­i­can in 2010 as a pi­lot of Boe­ing 737s af­ter fly­ing smaller planes for Amer­i­can Ea­gle.

Amer­i­can Air­lines CEO Doug Parker ex­pressed his sadness and grat­i­tude to the crew of Flight 1353 in a let­ter to em­ploy­ees.

The pi­lots’ union said Grubbs lived in Le­banon, Ten­nessee, and said it was of­fer­ing help to his fam­ily. He was mar­ried and was the fa­ther of a son, who will grad­u­ate from col­lege in May, ac­cord­ing to the air­line.

Pi­lot deaths dur­ing flights are rare. In most cases, the other pi­lot in the cock­pit has been able to land the plane with­out fur­ther in­ci­dent.

In 2015, the cap­tain of an Amer­i­can Air­lines jet be­came ill and died dur­ing a late-night flight from Phoenix. The co-pi­lot of the Bos­ton-bound plane made an emer­gency land­ing in Syra­cuse, New York.

A United Air­lines pi­lot suf­fered a heart at­tack dur­ing a flight from Hous­ton to Seattle that made an emer­gency land­ing in Boise, Idaho. He died sev­eral hours later at a hos­pi­tal.

Pi­lots must pass reg­u­lar med­i­cal ex­ams. In 2009, the Fed­eral Aviation Ad­min­is­tra­tion raised the manda­tory re­tire­ment age for air­line pi­lots from 60 to 65, and some have sug­gested rais­ing it again to help deal with a short­age of pi­lots.

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