The co-pilot of a Russian UTair airliner has died in mid-air after feeling unwell while piloting a Boeing en route from Bangkok to Moscow. The plane with 239 passengers on board – all Russian citizens – was able to land safely in Siberia.
“The co-pilot [Sergey Golev, aged 44] died at 12:25 am, Novosibirsk Time (5:25 pm GMT), three hours after takeoff,” said senior investigator Anastasia Utochkina, as quoted by Life News. “The captain made a decision to descend, while the crew called over the tannoy for a female physician who happened to be among the passengers. However, her attempts to reanimate the man, who was lying on the cockpit floor, failed.”
The captain reportedly attempted to land the plane in China, while reanimation efforts were underway. However, his colleague died during the descent, apparently from acute heart failure. At this point, a decision was taken to land in Russia instead, and the Boeing 757-200 touched down safely at Novosibirsk airport.
The Investigation Department of Russia’s transport authority has launched an inquiry into the case in an effort to uncover the cause of the incident.
Meanwhile, airport officials insist that the co-pilot was merely traveling as a passenger and in no way and at no point was in control of the aircraft.
“The deceased pilot was traveling as an ordinary passenger,” a press officer of Novosibirsk airport Tolmachevo, Irina Levit, told Life News. “The aircraft belongs to UTair airline, where Sergey Golev was employed. There was no threat to passengers.”
However, according to the investigation committee who requested the details of the crew and the results of their pre-flight medicals from Bangkok airport, no such evaluation was performed in Thailand. The last time the crew had had a medical check-up was back at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport a few days previously.