Etihad B772 near Bahrain on Sep 27th 2018, captain incapacitated and dies

Last Update: March 8, 2019 / 19:19:34 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Sep 27, 2018

Classification
Report

Flight number
ET-927

Aircraft Registration
A6-DDE

Aircraft Type
Boeing 777-200

ICAO Type Designator
B772

An Etihad Boeing 777-200 freighter, registration A6-DDE performing flight ET-927 from Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) to Amsterdam (Netherlands) with 4 crew, was enroute at FL320 over international waters near Bahrain (Bahrain) about 42 minutes into the flight, when the captain handed controls to the first officer and left the cockpit for the galley. About 6 minutes later the loadmaster informed the first officer, that the captain had collapsed, the security officer on board stated the captain attempted to pull a meal tray out when be became unconscious and collapsed. The security officer had already initiated cardio-polmonary resuscitation (CPR), the loadmaster informed the flight deck. The first officer declared emergency and diverted the aircraft to Kuwait City (Kuwait) where the aircraft landed safely and stopped on the runway, medical staff entered the aircraft and continued CPR for about 15 minutes, then the captain was pronounced dead.

The United Arab Emirates GCAA released their final report concluding the probable cause of the serious incident was:

The Air Accident Investigation Sector determines that the Commander’s incapacitation and subsequent death was due to a cardiopulmonary system collapse, caused by a stenosis in the coronary artery.

The Commander’s high cholesterol level caused the coronary artery disease and contributed to the stenosis in the coronary artery. The Commander’s undeclared use of OTC medication likely contributed to a reduction in his lipid levels. This treatment was not managed by an aeromedical examiner.

The Air Accident Investigation Sector determines that it was not possible for the aeromedical examiner to predict the imminent incapacitation of the Commander.

The crew consisted of a captain (51, ATPL, 16,547 hours total, 2,809 hours on type), a first officer (46, ATPL, 13,205 hours total, 3,777 hours on type), a load master and a company security officer.

The GCAA analysed:

When the Aircraft was in the cruise at flight level 320, 42 minutes into the flight, the Commander handed over control to the Copilot. Then the Commander left his seat and went to the galley. While he was pulling a meal tray from the galley, the Commander lost consciousness and collapsed.

The corporate security officer immediately reacted by providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The loadmaster communicated with the Copilot on the flight deck and provided regular updates on the situation. An immediate decision was made to divert the flight to Kuwait international Airport, which was the nearest available airport. After being cleared by Kuwait ATC, the Copilot initiated the diversion from the right seat.

The Investigation believes that the professional and immediate actions of the Copilot, together with the instant and continuous attempt by the security officer to revive the Commander, provided the best opportunity for his survival. However, the medical condition of the Commander was severe and the efforts to resuscitate him were not successful.

With respect to the CPR the GCAA analysed:

The security officer immediately identified the serious condition of the Commander and applied CPR in an attempt to keep his vital signals stable, until paramedics boarded the Aircraft after landing. The security officer had to rely on his memory of previous training, because the Operator did not provide loadmasters or corporate security officers with regular first aid training. Such training is provided to cabin managers on passenger flights. This was also not a requirement by the Civil Aviation Regulations of the United Arab Emirates.

Many freighter flights are operated by two flight crewmembers without any additional personnel onboard. In these circumstances, in-flight emergencies such as pilot incapacitations, need to be managed by the remaining flight crewmember. On flights where additional crewmembers are onboard, these crewmembers, with the correct training and equipment, could provide critical assistance in medical emergencies.

The Aircraft was not fitted with an automated external defibrillator (AED), which are standard emergency safety equipment on passenger flights. The Investigation could not determine whether the use of an AED may have saved the Commander’s life.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Sep 27, 2018

Classification
Report

Flight number
ET-927

Aircraft Registration
A6-DDE

Aircraft Type
Boeing 777-200

ICAO Type Designator
B772

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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