Lufthansa B744 over Atlantic on Nov 19th 2012, first officer incapacitated

Last Update: November 11, 2013 / 17:12:02 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 19, 2012

Classification
Incident

Airline
Lufthansa

Aircraft Registration
D-ABVH

Aircraft Type
Boeing 747-400

ICAO Type Designator
B744

The Irish AAIU released their final report releasing following findings:

- The Flight Crew were properly licensed.

- As the flight progressed, the F/O became increasingly ill and was unable to carry out his duties on the flight deck.

- Another pilot was found among the passengers who was able to assist in the cockpit.

- The flight diverted to a suitable airport where a safe landing was made.

- The Commander utilised the principles of CRM to deal effectively with the situation.

The AAIU reported that the captain (46, ATPL, 15,300 hours total, 554 hours on type) was pilot monitoring, the first officer (35, ATPL, 7,513 hours total, 1,913 hours on type) was pilot flying. While enroute at FL380 over the Newfoundland (Canada) the first officer stated he felt tired and requested a 10 minute rest. The commander took over as pilot flying, the first officer took a short sleep. After the first officer woke up again he reported he was still feeling tired, dizzy and unable to concentrate. The captain requested the purser to check whether any doctors were on board, 3 passengers responded, the first officer was taken to the rest area aft of the cockpit and went to sleep again. When he woke up again he reported severe headache and began vomitting. The principal doctor then advised the captain that the first officer would not be able to return to duty and should be taken to a hospital. By then the aircraft had already reached 30 degrees W over the Atlantic, the captain consulted with medical services via radio and decided to divert to Dublin. A check of the passenger manifest showed a Boeing 767 captain of another airline with 11,000 hours flying experience was amongst the passengers, the captain checked his license and accepted the assistance permitting "him to sit in the F/O’s seat, while performing PM duties under his command and supervision." The captain declared Mayday and landed the aircraft on Dublin's runway 10.

The first officer was taken to a hospital, checked and permitted to travel on on D-ABVH, that departed Dublin flown by a relief crew about 8 hours later. The first officer was then taken to a hospital in Frankfurt, in the meantime he has recovered and revalidated his licenses.

The AAIU commented: "Later a more serious situation developed where the F/O became incapacitated and thus unfit for duty, with medical advice being that he should be brought to hospital. This resulted in a serious situation with an en-route diversion being made into an airport which was not on the original flight plan and where the aircraft was not expected. Consequently, with a higher than normal workload and no crosscheck available from his F/O, the Commander correctly sought additional resources from within the aircraft. With the assistance of the Cabin Crew, an experienced captain was located who was qualified on an aircraft type somewhat similar to the incident aircraft type. Although the aircraft size and the number of engines were dissimilar, nevertheless the same operational philosophy and systems design tend to carry from one aircraft to another within a Manufacturer’s line of products. Consequently this pilot was a good choice and was adequately equipped to provide additional assistance in this situation."
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Nov 19, 2012

Classification
Incident

Airline
Lufthansa

Aircraft Registration
D-ABVH

Aircraft Type
Boeing 747-400

ICAO Type Designator
B744

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