Newark Mayor Corey Booker has released an official statement to the media about the tragic passing of a Continental Airlines pilot on flight 61.
“I commend the entire crew of Continental Airlines Flight 61 for their courageous actions today, which saved hundreds of lives. We are proud of the staff of Continental Airlines, Newark Liberty International Airport, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, whose unity, strength, and resilience in this crisis guided the plane to safety during difficult weather conditions. We also send our condolences and prayers to the pilot’s family.”
A Continental Airlines passenger flight that started in Belgium made a safe landing in Newark, N.J., this morning after its pilot died mid-flight.
The pilot of the plane carrying 247 passengers died from natural causes, according to a Los Angeles Times article. The name of the pilot has not been released, but we know that he was 61 years old, based in Newark and had 21 years of service with Continental. (Update: Continental now says the pilot was 60 years old, with 32 years of service.)
During the flight, passengers were none the wiser about what occurred in the cockpit. As reported by AP, “Passengers weren’t told of the pilot’s death in flight. During the flight, an announcement was made asking if any doctors were aboard and several passengers approached the cockpit.”
According to an airline spokesperson quoted by various media reports, two co-pilots maintained control of the Boeing 777 plane, ensuring a safe landing at Newark Liberty International Airport at 11:49 a.m. (EST). [LA TIMES]