American Airlines plane lands safely in New York after pilot dies

An American Airlines flight has made a safe emergency landing in New York after the pilot became ill and died, the airline says.

American Airlines Flight 550, an Airbus A320 carrying 147 passengers and 5 crew members, was flying from Phoenix to Boston when the captain fell ill and lost consciousness. "Medical emergency: Captain is incapacitated," the co-pilot told air traffic control before diverting the flight to Syracuse, New York, where the aircraft landed safely.

"Unfortunately, our pilot passed away," the airline said in a brief statement, which did not identity the pilot. The cause of death was not immediately known.

"We are incredibly saddened by this event and we are focused on caring for our pilot’s family and colleagues. We are also taking care of our customers and we did send a replacement crew to get them to Boston," the statement said.

Flight 550 had departed Phoenix at 11:55 p.m. MT on Sunday and landed at Syracuse at 7:13 a.m. ET on Monday.

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