Baltic DH8D near Riga on Oct 13th 2013, captain incapacitated
Last Update: March 18, 2015 / 20:36:31 GMT/Zulu time
The rotation was cancelled.
The airline confirmed the aircraft returned to Riga due to one of the pilots feeling unwell.
Passengers reported the second pilot announced the first pilot had become unwell and they were returning to Riga.
On Mar 18th 2015 Latvia's Air Accident and Incident Investigation Board TAIIB released their final report concluding:
It is estimated that this serious incident was caused, when the aircraft was cruising the Commander (PIC) in duty of pilot flying became incapable of performing his duty normally by a loss of consciousness, which followed after sudden stomach upset as result of Acute Respiratory Viral Infection, Acute Gastroenterocolitis, Decompensated Diabetes and Hyperglycemia. Concerning that the appearance of these symptoms was not predicted, it is estimated to contribute the PIC did not have any subjective symptoms before flight or under current aviation medical examinations is difficult if no subjective or objective symptoms are observed.
The TAIIB reported that the aircraft was enroute at FL250 approximately 130nm from Riga when the commander (44, ATPL, 4,288 hours total, 1,870 hours on type) commented his stomach was not feeling well and left the cockpit for the lavatory. On the way to the lavatory the captain fell onto the floor and fainted. Cabin crew observed the fall, provided first aid and checked for a doctor on board. The first officer (30,CPL, 2,527 hours total, 987 hours on type), upon being informed about the captain's condition, decided to return to Riga, declared Mayday and requested short vectors. The aircraft landed safely on Riga's runway 36 and stopped on the runway, an ambulance attended to the captain and took him to a hospital, the passengers disembarked onto the runway. The aircraft was subsequently towed to the apron.
The TAIIB reported the captain remained in hospital care for 4 days. His medical certificate was suspended. Following initial diagnosis and therapy the condition of the captain improved, an insulin therapy could be cancelled. After discharge from hospital the captain was again medically assessed and found "that health status is in compliance with the requirements laid down by Regulation", he was provided with additional recommendations and requirements for health inspection and received a new medical certificate.
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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