An American Airlines pilot who died at the controls of his plane has been identified as 57-year-old Michael Johnston.
He was piloting flight 550 from Phoenix to Boston yesterday morning and died from a suspected heart attack despite an air stewardess giving him CPR.
The plane was eventually landed at Syracuse, New York, by the first officer.
In a post on her husband’s Facebook page, Johnston’s wife Betty Jean said her husband has died ‘doing what he loved.’
‘Betty Jean would like to let everyone know that Mike passed away this morning doing what he loved most, flying a plane to New York’, she wrote.
‘The co-pilot was able to land the plane safely. Information on funeral services will be posted later.’
She also says that airline officials told her he suffered from a heart attack – having previously undergone a double bypass in 2006.
He also underwent a physical test every six months to ensure he was healthy enough to fly after 25 years of service.
In a letter to heartbroken staff members, American Airlines said: ‘All of us at American extend our condolences to Mike’s wife, Betty Jean, and to his entire family.
‘They have lost a husband and father, and many of you have lost a personal friend. Taking care of Mike’s family is our focus now, and I know you’ll join me in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers.’
In an audio recording of the moment that the co-pilot radioed in the emergency, he can be heard to say: ‘Medical emergency, captain is incapacitated, request handling for runway 108.’
Posting on Twitter, flight passenger Louise Anderson said: ‘The pilot died on our redeye back to Boston (leading to 4h in Syracuse). Life is short. Do what you love before it’s too late.’
Source: Metro News
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