An off-duty pilot came to the rescue midflight after an Air Transat captain became incapacitated due to an “uncontrollable nosebleed”.
The off-duty pilot, an Air Transat captain himself, was traveling on an Airbus A330-200 from Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ) to the Dominican Republic for a family holiday when he was asked to assist with the unusual incident.
Air Transat told the People that Flight TS186 was flying to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) on November 22, 2023, with 299 people on board when a nosebleed meant that the captain was “unable to continue his duties”.
The off-duty pilot was “fit and able” to take over the controls and the plane landed at its destination safely.
“It is worth noting that our pilots are expertly trained to deal with situations such as this one and can manage flying our aircraft unassisted. As such, there was absolutely no risk for anyone on this flight and the situation would have been the same had the backup pilot not been on board,” the airline said in a statement to the People.
It is not uncommon for off-duty pilots to be traveling on board flights operated by their airline.
“A flight crew member became incapacitated approximately three hours into the flight. A company qualified pilot who was flying as a passenger replaced the incapacitated flight crew member and the aircraft continued to the intended destination without further incident,” the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said.
The TSB decided that the incident did not warrant a full investigation, but it will be used for “possible future safety analysis”.