SAS A321 near Copenhagen on Jun 13th 2015, captain incapacitated

Last Update: September 10, 2015 / 15:04:38 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jun 13, 2015

Classification
Incident

Flight number
SK-7733

Destination
Chania, Greece

Aircraft Registration
LN-RKK

Aircraft Type
Airbus A321

ICAO Type Designator
A321

A SAS Scandinavian Airlines Airbus A321-200, registration LN-RKK performing flight SK-7733 from Aalborg (Denmark) to Chania (Greece) with 190 passengers and 7 crew, was enroute at FL350 about 150nm southeast of Copenhagen (Denmark) when the captain became incapacitated prompting the first officer to take control of the aircraft and divert to Copenhagen. The first officer requested an ambulance to await the aircraft upon arrival. The aircraft landed safely, 1 ton below maximum landing weight, on Copenhagen's runway 22L and taxied to the gate, where medics took care of the captain.

The aircraft was able to depart Copenhagen after 75 minutes on the ground and reached Chania with a delay of about 2 hours.

The French BEA reported in their weekly bulletin Denmark's HCL rated the occurrence a serious incident and opened an investigation.

On Sep 10th 2015 the Danish Havarikommissionen (HCL) released their final bulletin concluding:

A vasovagal episode most likely led to incapacitation of the commander resulting in a diversion of the flight.

The HCL analysed commending the first officer: "With reference to the operator’s procedures, the first officer made use of available internal (other crew members/automatic flight) and external (ATC/medical assistance upon landing) resources, which reduced the overall on board workload and made the medical assistance to the commander effective."

The HCL reported, that the captain (55, ATPL, 16,243 hours total) started to feel unwell when the aircraft had reached cruise level and complained about a feeling of vertigo. The first officer (48, ATPL, 7,226 hours total) assumed control of the aircraft, turned the temperature down in the cockpit, the captain donned his oxygen mask. About a minute later the captain felt sufficiently improved, that the crew agreed to continue the flight.

Some time later the captain again began to feel unwell and again complained about vertigo. The first officer instructed the captain to don his oxygen mask and keep it on. The captain donned his oxygen mask, but this time did not improve but worsened. The first officer, assuming all flying and monitoring duties, declared a medical emergency and initiated the diversion to Copenhagen.

The captain was taken to a hospital, where medical examinations showed normal blood sugar, no markers for infections and normal electrocardiagram. The captain had not slept well the night before the flight however. The hospital discharged the captain. Following extensive medical examinations by aviation medics and neurologists diagnosed: "A most likely vasovagal episode led to the incapacitation of the commander."

The HCL made following notes: "A vasovagal episode is one of the most common causes of fainting/ brief loss of consciousness. A vasovagal episode might be trigged by for instance emotional stress, sleep disorder, sudden drop of blood pressure or dehydration."
Aircraft Registration Data
Registration mark
LN-RKK
Country of Registration
Norway
Date of Registration
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Manufacturer
Airbus
Aircraft Model / Type
A321-232
ICAO Aircraft Type
A321
Serial Number
Maximum Take off Mass (MTOM) [kg]
Engine Count
Main Owner
LlfdnAffiihkmqgnhjlkemqejgcAi Agpchigjnlmpm ekpeciijneqkm Subscribe to unlock
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jun 13, 2015

Classification
Incident

Flight number
SK-7733

Destination
Chania, Greece

Aircraft Registration
LN-RKK

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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