During a scheduled flight by LATAM Airlines from Miami to Santiago, a distressing incident occurred where the pilot fell ill approximately three hours after departure. As a result, the plane had to divert to Panama City. Sadly, Captain Ivan Andaur, aged 56, the pilot in question, was declared deceased upon the aircraft’s arrival in Panama City.
The plane departed from Miami for Chile as flight LA505 on Monday, August 14, with 271 people onboard. LATAM’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliers with registration CC-BGI was operating the flight. After three hours into the trip, the flight’s commander, Captain Andaur, allegedly needed sudden medical assistance. He left the flight deck and went to the bathroom. However, he collapsed, and other crew members rushed in for emergency assistance.
The flight crew made an emergency landing at Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport.
Unfortunately, the medical teams declared Andaur dead when the plane arrived in Panama City. He had 25 years of service flying for LATAM.
LATAM Airlines Statement On Veteran Pilot’s Death
LATAM stated the incident, saying, “LATAM Airlines Group reports that flight LA505 yesterday, which was on the Miami-Santiago route, had to land at the Tocumen International Airport in Panama due to a medical emergency for one of the three members of the command crew.” It also mentioned the medical team provided emergency services, but the pilot sadly passed.
The statement also said, “We are deeply moved by what has happened, and we extend our sincere condolences to the employee’s family. We are deeply grateful for his 25-year career and valuable contribution, always distinguished by his dedication, professionalism, and dedication.” LATAM Airlines clarified that during the flight, the crew followed the necessary safety protocols to protect the life of the affected pilot.
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After the incident, the aircraft departed from Panama City on Tuesday, August 15 and arrived in Santiago after 5 hours and 31 minutes.
Pilot incapacitation is a rare event. According to Simple Flying, there were several incidents in 2023 where a crew member on a flight became unwell, causing the remaining pilot to land the plane.
During a Southwest Airlines flight from Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada, to Columbus, Ohio, in March, a pilot operating the Boeing 737-700 became unwell and needed medical assistance shortly after takeoff. A commercial pilot who was not on duty helped with radio communications as the plane headed back to Las Vegas.