A pilot collapsed and died in the lavatory of a LATAM Boeing 787 Dreamliner flying from Miami to Chile, forcing his two co-pilots to make an emergency landing in Panama City.
Iván Andaur, 56, was piloting flight LA505 from Miami International Airport to Santiago on Sunday night when he started to feel unwell and collapsed in the toilet.
Two co-pilots took control of the aircraft and landed at Tocumen International Airport, where paramedics provided first aid to Andaur, but he was pronounced dead.
A registered nurse, identified only as Isadora on social media, said she joined another nurse and two doctors in an attempt to revive the pilot after he suffered symptoms related to cardiac arrest.
While she says the crew did their utmost to try and help, she claims the improvised medical team did not have ‘necessary or sufficient supplies’ to resuscitate him.
‘Unfortunately, we did not have the necessary or sufficient supplies to perform a good resuscitation,’ Isadora said.
‘LATAM needs to improve the issue of protocol in case of health and medical emergencies like this where lives can be saved but the resources are needed.’
It is not clear what supplies Isadora was referring to. LATAM has been contacted for comment.
Another unnamed female passenger said the flight departed Miami around 11pm before one of the co-pilots requested medical assistance.
‘After 40 minutes the pilot asked us if there was a doctor on the plane, we don’t know what happened there,’ she said.
The woman said a flight attendant asked the passengers if anyone had items used for people who are insulin-dependent.
‘They told us that we were going to land because the pilot felt sick and when we arrived they asked us to evacuate the plane because the situation had worsened,’ she said.
Walter Guerra, a Chilevision television producer, told Chilean news outlet LUN that the airplane spent half an hour at the gate before the airline announced it was cancelling the flight.
Passengers were booked into area hotels and resumed their flight Tuesday afternoon.
Andaur was a Chilean Air Force pilot before he joined LATAM.
He was married to Veronica Andaur, who passed away in 2017. The couple were parents to a daughter, Sofia Andaur.
Sky Airline captain captain Paula Mandini paid tribute to Andaur on Facebook, recalling the flight crew’s night out in Hamburg, Germany, before returning to Chile.
‘I have many memories of flights, conversations and so many things … I have a giant lump in my throat,’ Mandini wrote. ‘I only hope that you are with your Vero and from heaven you give strength to your daughter..!!!!! Fly high..!!!!!’
‘At Latam we are deeply moved by what happened and we extend our most sincere condolences to the family of our collaborator,’ the airline said in a statement.
‘We are deeply grateful for his 25-year career and his valuable contribution, who has always stood out for his dedication, professionalism, and commitment.’