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Allegiant Air Flight Diverted After Pilot Suffered Seizure Mid-Flight

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By Pritha Paul, International Business Times

An Allegiant Air flight that took off from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on Thursday was on its way to Punta Gorda, Florida, when it was diverted after its pilot suffered a seizure midway.

Instead, Allegiant Flight 1304, which left Kentucky just before 7 a.m. local time (EDT), landed at Gainesville Regional Airport, Florida, at around 8:30 a.m. local time (EDT).

According to USA Today-affiliated Cincinnati.com, the airlines issued the following statement regarding the incident:

“Today (Thursday, May 31) on flight 1304 from Cincinnati to Punta Gorda, a pilot experienced a medical emergency. The crew acted quickly and diverted to Gainesville, Florida to arrange immediate medical assistance. The flight landed normally, and the pilot is being treated at a local hospital. He is in stable condition, and walked off the aircraft upon landing.”

Photos from the scene showed emergency vehicles arriving to meet the plane at the tarmac.

According to Allegiant spokeswoman Krysta Levy, the Airbus A320, was carrying 155 passengers and six crew members at the time of the incident.

Levy added a new flight crew was assigned to the plane after it landed at the Gainesville Regional Airport as the pilot, whose identity has not been revealed, was deemed unfit to fly the plane. The flight was scheduled to resume its journey shortly after 3 p.m. local time (EDT).

“We provided lunch and compensation while the passengers waited through the delay, and we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding,” she said.

The Gainesville fire department tweeted saying, “At GNV airport to Airbus 320 landed safely. GFR and ACFR emergency medical responders treating the pilot.”

They added the pilot was transported to a nearby hospital and was in a stable condition.

Airport public relations officer Erin Porter said after an emergency landing on the runway, the plane was parked on the ramp.

“Gainesville Regional Airport is always prepared to assist in this sort of situation,” she said.

Passenger Ellie Fllower, who was onboard the flight at the time, described the situation as “scary.”

“It was scary when the plane was going down because the crew started running towards the front, and nobody really knew what was going on,” said Fllower, ABC-affiliated My Sun Coast reported. “It didn't seem like any passengers were sick so we were confused.”

No passenger was injured as flight crew managed to step in for the pilot and land the plane safely, chief Don Campbell, with the Gainesville Fire Rescue, said.

This is not the first time flight attendants were called in to assist the pilot to land a plane. Back in March last year, a TUIfly plane was travelling from Hanover, Germany, to Mallorca, Spain, when a co-pilot of the plane began to feel unwell and after a visit to the restroom, felt the need to lie down. After a doctor onboard the flight examined the co-pilot, he was diagnosed with extremely low blood pressure.

Although the healthier co-pilot was perfectly capable of landing the aircraft with a pilot short, he decided to not to take any chances and asked one of the flight attendants to assist him in conducting all the pre-flight checks before landing the plane.

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