The Captain of a domestic Aeroflot flight between Moscow and the city of Anapa in the far south-west of the country had a heart attack on Sunday morning and tragically died mid-flight according to various Russian media reports. The First Officer of the Airbus A320 aircraft was able to successfully solo land the plane after deciding to divert to Rostov-on-Don.
Aeroflot flight SU1546 departed Moscow (SVO) at 8.20am on Sunday for what should have been a short and routine flight to Anapa. Within an hour, the plane had touched down at Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Don as flight crew desperately tried to get urgent medical attention for the Captain.
Sadly, the pilot is said to have passed away at some point during the final descent.
“Unfortunately it was not possible to resuscitate the pilot,” a spokesperson for Aeroflot confirmed to Russian media, although the airline refused to elaborate any further.
The flight eventually departed Rostov-on-Don around two and a half hours later with a replacement pilot and eventually reached its planned destination approximately four hours behind schedule.
The airline did not immediately provide any details about the pilot and declined to comment on reports that he had recently complained of suffering chest pains. Russian news agency RT quoted officials who said the pilot had passed a “routine medical check-up” not long before Sunday’s flight and “had no health indicators that would have barred him from piloting the aircraft”.
One of the passengers on the flight, Yelena Voronova said flight attendants initially asked for medical assistance because a fellow member of cabin crew had been taken ill. “A stewardess practically ran across the aisle,” Voronova told RT.
“They later asked if there were any doctors on board and said they really needed them. Then they asked again.”
Russian officials are said to have opened an investigation.