Emergency declared on Ryanair flight as pilot faints
The co-pilot on a Ryanair flight from Italy to the Canary Islands fell ill and lost consciousness, forcing the captain to fly solo, declare an emergency, and divert to another airport.
The Spanish authority responsible for investigating civil aviation incidents and accidents has launched an investigation into the incident.
In a preliminary report, La Comisión de Investigación de Accidentes e Incidentes de Aviación Civil (CIAIAC), has confirmed the details of the probe to date.
The incident occurred on July 6 last about half an hour after Ryanair flight FR-7676, with 118 passengers and seven crew on board, had taken off from Pisa in Italy.
The flight was destined for Las Palmas on the island of Gran Canaria.
The first officer, often referred to as the co-pilot, is reported to have complained of "feeling sick".
When a captain is the pilot flying, the co-pilot is generally responsible for radio communications.
In this case, after the first officer fell ill, the captain assumed responsibility for communications as well as flying the aircraft.
The CIAIAC preliminary report stated: "Several minutes later, the first officer's state worsened and the captain requested the cabin service supervisor to enter the flight deck to take care of him.
"Finally, the first officer lost consciousness so the captain declared a medical emergency and diverted to Gerona Airport.
"During descent into Gerona, the first officer regained consciousness but 'remained incapacitated'."
The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 jet, landed with no problems at 2.06pm and was directed towards the parking stand where emergency medical services were standing by. The co-pilot was removed by ambulance to a local hospital.
The cause of the illness has not been revealed.