Passengers were evacuated from a KLM flight leaving Glasgow Airport for Amsterdam in the Netherlands when the captain suffered a heart attack just as he was about to take off.
The crew on board managed to use their first aid training as well as being helped by a passenger to resuscitate him. Firefighters who are permanently on site at the airport arrived on the scene to help the pilot off the plane.
He was met immediately met by paramedics and rushed by ambulance to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank. The plane, which had 128 people on board, was taken back to the gate by its co-pilot.
Because the plane could not take off with only one pilot, the flight was cancelled and passengers were told they could re-book their flight.
A spokesperson for KLM confirmed that the captain had become ill while taxiing to the runway to prepare for take off to Amsterdam. The pilot’s condition is now described as stable.
A Scottish Ambulance Service spokesperson said that they had taken a call that a man had suffered a heart attack at the airport, and that paramedics arrived just before 5.30pm.
While passengers were naturally disgruntled at having to cancel their flights, it was a relief to all on board that the pilot is said to be making a good recovery. There was also relief that the captain was not in the air when he suffered a heart attack.
However, during most flights, the co-pilot carries out just as many duties as the captain, and would have been able to fly and land the craft if the pilot did become unwell having already taken off.
This latest incident follows a more serious one in America when an American Airlines pilot died mid-flight from Phoenix to Boston, leaving his desperate co-pilot to make an emergency landing while at the same time calling for medical help for his captain.