An Alaska Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Seattle made an emergency landing in Portland, Ore. tonight after the pilot of the Boeing 737 lost consciousness, an airline official said.
Flight 473, which departed Los Angeles International Airport at 6:37 p.m. with 116 passengers and five crewmembers aboard, was landed safely by the first officer after the pilot “temporarily lost consciousness,” Paul McElroy of Alaska Airlines told City News Service.
The flight, which was due to land in Seattle at 9:30 p.m., was over Oregon when the pilot passed out, McElroy said.
The first officer, who has been flying with Alaska Airlines for 11 years, took control of the jetliner and, following protocol, “landed at the nearest suitable airport, which was Portland (International Airport),” McElroy said.
“All of our pilots are trained to single-handedly fly our airplanes,” McElroy said.
The pilot, who has been flying for Alaska Airlines for 28 years, regained consciousness during the flight and was taken to the main cabin where he was attended to by a doctor who happened to be aboard the plane, McElroy said.
The jet touched down in Portland around 9:05 p.m. and the pilot was taken to a hospital, but his condition was not immediately available and it remained unclear tonight what caused him to pass out, McElroy said.
About 20 of the flight’s passengers, all with tight connections, were put aboard a Horizon Air shuttle flight to Seattle that departed Portland at 9:30 p.m., he said.
The rest of the passengers were to fly on Seattle aboard the original flight once another pilot arrived at the airport in Portland, McElroy said.
The departure from Portland was scheduled for 12:30 a.m. Friday, with arrival in Seattle due at 1:15 a.m., he said.