Plane lands safely in NJ after pilot diesPosted: Updated:
(AP) - The pilot of a Continental Airlines flight from Brussels to Newark died over the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, but the jet landed safely with two co-pilots at the controls.
The 247 passengers aboard Flight 61 weren't told of the pilot's death and flight attendants continued serving snacks, though the crew did ask for the help of any doctors aboard. Several passengers approached the cockpit, including one doctor who told The Associated Press the pilot appeared to have suffered a heart attack.
The 60-year-old Newark-based pilot, who worked for Continental for 32 years, is believed to have died of natural causes, said Kelly Cripe, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based airline.
A relief pilot was on board and took the place of the deceased pilot, Cripe said. The Boeing 777 touched down on time just before noon at Newark Liberty International Airport.
"The flight continued safely with two pilots at the controls," Cripe said in a statement.
Dr. Julien Struyven, 72, a cardiologist and radiologist from Brussels who was aboard, responded to the call for doctors, went to the cockpit and examined the pilot.
"He was not alive," Struyven said. There was "no chance at all" of saving him, he said.
Struyven said he suspected the pilot had a heart attack. He said he used a defibrillator to try to revive the pilot, but it was too late.