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Flight diverted after Alaska Airlines pilot passes out

Alaska Airlines flight 473 was traveling from L.A. to Seattle when its pilot suddenly became unconscious. The first officer took over the controls and landed safely in Portland, Ore., where the pilot was taken to the hospital. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

A flight from Los Angeles to Seattle was diverted to Portland late Thursday after one of the pilots lost consciousness.

Alaska Airlines said Flight 473's first officer flew the Boeing 737-700 to Portland International Airport after the captain became ill over Oregon.

The plane landed safely at 9:05 p.m. local time (12:05 a.m. ET Friday) and paramedics took the pilot to the hospital, airline spokesman Paul McElroy said.

The Seattle Times reported that a doctor on board was able to tend to the captain at the front of the plane.


There were 116 passengers and five crew members on the flight, which had been due to arrive in Seattle at 9:30 p.m. local time (12.30 a.m. ET).

The captain has been flying with Alaska Airlines for 28 years, while the first officer has been with the airline 11 years, McElroy said.

NBC station KING5 said it was not known what caused the pilot to pass out.

About 20 passengers were re-accommodated on other flights to Seattle, while the rest took a flight scheduled to land in Seattle at 1:15 a.m. local time Friday (4:15 a.m. ET).

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