Plane makes emergency landing after pilot passes out

SEATTLE (KIRO) - An Alaska Airlines flight was diverted to Portland, OR after the captain passed out, forcing the first officer to take over on Thursday night.

An airline spokesman said a doctor on board treated the captain while the co-pilot landed the plane at the nearest airport. Flight 473 with 116 passengers and five crew members on board originated in Los Angeles.

The flight landed without incident in Portland, where medical personnel were waiting.

"We saw the flight attendants run into the cockpit pretty quickly. Soon as that happens, you know there's something going on. Then the cockpit door opened and they laid the pilot on the floor, and went and got the defibrillator, I think that's what it was, or some kind of medical equipment, and began to work on him," passenger James Cathcart said. "She asked if there were any medical personnel on board, EMTs, paramedics, doctors. One young lady came up to the front as well as another young man. They worked on him for a while, and he seemed to be OK. I think he hit his head because they were working on an injury on his head as well."

Cathcart said that no one on the plane felt they were in danger, and the flight attendants kept passengers calm.

The airline has not released the captain's name or condition, but did say he has been with Alaska Airlines for 28-years.

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