Two Indians Among Recent Casualties Blamed On Pilot Fatigue

The aviation industry has been jolted by a series of unfortunate events involving the untimely deaths of three pilots from different airlines within the span of just three days.

The causes of these fatalities are being scrutinized, with some attributing them to pilot fatigue, while others view them as mere coincidences. Two of the three fatalities have been identified as cardiac arrests, both involving pilots hailing from India. While the reason for the third pilot's, from LATAM Airlines, demise remains uncertain, investigations are ongoing.

IndiGo Flight

The first incident unfolded at Nagpur Airport where an IndiGo pilot collapsed just moments before embarking on a flight, a somber event that took place on Thursday. Regrettably, the pilot succumbed to his condition later in the hospital. IndiGo expressed their condolences, stating, "We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of our pilots earlier today in Nagpur. He fell ill at Nagpur airport and was taken to the hospital, where he unfortunately passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."

Qatar Airways Flight

In another distressing occurrence, an Indian-origin pilot who was a passenger on a Qatar Airways flight from Delhi to Doha fell seriously ill during the journey. Tragically, he passed away aboard flight QR 579, prompting the flight's rerouting to Dubai Airport where he was declared deceased. This pilot had previously worked with SpiceJet and Alliance Air. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has confirmed the occurrences.

Pilot collapsed in Bathroom

Additionally, a senior airline pilot serving as a Captain with LATAM Airlines met a tragic end. During a Miami to Chile flight with 271 passengers on board, Captain Ivan Andaur collapsed in the airplane's bathroom. Despite emergency medical intervention upon landing at Panama City's Tocumen International Airport, he did not survive.

Pilot fatigue suspected

The suspicion of pilot fatigue has emerged among social media users following these incidents. According to officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the IndiGo pilot in question had only 27 hours of rest between two flights. He had operated two flight sectors from Trivandrum to Nagpur via Pune, from 3 am to 7 am on Wednesday, and was scheduled for four more sectors starting from 1 PM at Nagpur Airport on Thursday.

Cardiac arrest has been determined as the cause of death in the two incidents involving Indian pilots, while the circumstances leading to the demise of the LATAM pilot remain unclear.

What is pilot fatigue?

Pilot fatigue, a phenomenon characterized by pilots enduring extended flights with minimal rest in between, is being examined as a potential contributing factor. It's important to note that piloting responsibilities extend beyond the time spent in the air, involving meticulous pre-flight checks and the need for sustained concentration to ensure safe journeys.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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