A United Airlines flight from Guatemala to Chicago was forced to divert to Houston International airport after the pilot suffered an apparent heart attack mid-flight and became incapacitated, sparking concern among passengers.
According to a memo from the United Airlines Operations Center, an emergency was called “for an incapacitated pilot” suffering from “chest pains” before the plane was diverted, CDM Press reports. The pilot was reportedly unable to leave the cockpit, and the co-pilot had to make an emergency landing.
“UA Flight 2007 GUA-ORD is diverting to IAH. Declaring an emergency for an incapacitated pilot. Gated at E20. Current ETA shows 1747. Unknown if flight will clear here at this time or just re-crew and go. Will advise when information is available. Pilot reportedly taken to a hospital,” states the memo.
A spokesperson for United Airlines confirmed that the pilot was taken to a hospital, while the passengers onboard were reportedly safe and being taken care of by the airline. United Airlines Flight 2007 was eventually able to take off and safely land in Chicago.
In 2021, United Airlines faced a lawsuit from more than 2,000 employees over the airline company’s vaccine mandates on religious grounds. The incident has raised concerns among passengers about the safety of pilots, especially after a British Airways pilot died from a heart attack shortly before he was scheduled to fly from Cairo to London Heathrow.
The pilot collapsed in the crew’s hotel foyer, where colleagues performed CPR on him. Unfortunately, the pilot passed away at the scene, which has raised questions about pilot deaths becoming more frequent since the vaccine rollout.