Asiana A321 near Kaohsiung on Oct 29th 2019, first officer incapacitated

Last Update: December 6, 2021 / 16:08:24 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 29, 2019

Classification
Report

Flight number
OZ-717

Aircraft Registration
HL8071

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321

ICAO Type Designator
A321

An Asiana Airlines Airbus A321-200, registration HL8071 performing flight OZ-717 from Seoul (South Korea) to Kaohsiung (Taiwan) with 145 passengers and 9 crew, was nearing Kaohsiung about 30 minutes prior to estimated landing, when the first officer (27, CPL, 836 hours total, 532 hours on type) entered the request for destination weather into the ACARS. While waiting for the printout the first officer suddenly lost consciousness. The captain (47, ATPL, 9,893 hours total, 4,026 hours on type), pilot flying, attempted to verbal and physical stimuli (call and touch) to verify the first officer's condition, then called for flight attendants, who pushed the first officer's chair backwards and were instructed by the captain to look for medical professionals on board. The captain declared emergency and continued to Kaohsiung, while the purser provided first aid to the first officer, who was pale and in cold sweat with his body drooped, no tension of muscles could be felt. The purser opened ties and belts, provided oxygen and massaged limbs. Soon after the first officer's condition improved, pallor and the cold sweat disappeared and the first officer began to move his arms and to respond to questions again. A few minutes later the captain asked the first officer to be moved out of the cockpit, the first officer was able to walk out of the cockpit supported by the purser and sat in a passenger seat. A doctor amongst the passenger advised the purser to continue with his first aid. The aircraft landed safely in Kaohsiung, by the time of landing the first officer had improved to normal, an attending medic at the apron checked the first officer and then withdrew all special measures, officials continued with their normal routine like alcohol tests.

South Korea's ARAIB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the serious incident was:

loss of consciousness of unknown cause

Contributing to the serious incident were:

- Lack of awareness about sleep deprivation
- Lack of individual fatigue management
- Lack of safety culture in the organization and safety mindset of its employees when it comes to fatigue management

The ARAIB analysed:

Based on the incapacitated crew's daily life before flight, he slept for about two hours per day for three days. He probably would have high level of fatigue since sleep debt was accumulated.

...

Pilot replacement in flight is impossible unless there is an augmented crew. For that reason, 'controlled rest' described in Fatigue Management Guide(FMG) seems to be the only option to avoid potential fatigue risks.

The absence of proper procedure and organizational acknowledgement of 'controlled rest' makes it difficult for a pilot to allow 'controlled rest'. Such situation discourages a crew member to utilize 'Controlled Rest' even though he or she does not feel well. Accordingly, there needs to be a systematic measure for decision makers (flight crew) to make a sensible decision.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Oct 29, 2019

Classification
Report

Flight number
OZ-717

Aircraft Registration
HL8071

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321

ICAO Type Designator
A321

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