A pilot continued to fly despite his co-pilot suffering a cardiac arrest and later dying, a new report states.
The pilot thought that his colleague was playing a joke by pretending to fall asleep while flying around Blackpool airport in June last year.
Instead, the instructor who was sat alongside another qualified pilot for the journey, had suffered a fatal heart attack.
It was only when the pilot landed the aircraft that the reality of the situation became apparent, with nearby airport fire crew and ambulance staff attempting to revive the instructor.
Despite all their best efforts, he could not be revived and sadly passed away.
Following that, an investigation into the incident was launched by the Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).
They said that the deceased 57-year-old had passed a medical examination only four months before the tragic incident, noting that while current medical assessments were acceptable, risks 'can never be reduced to zero'.
The man had agreed join the short journey aboard a G-BORL light aircraft around Blackpool Airport as two pilots were needed for the flight because of weather conditions.
On the morning of 29 June 2022, the man was described as being in good spirits following a trial lesson with three people.
But when the two pilots took to the sky in the light aircraft, the instructor apparently did not say a word from take off.
The report read: "The pilot recalled that shortly after take off from Runway 28 the instructor’s head rolled back.
"The pilot knew the instructor well and thought he was just pretending to take a nap whilst the pilot flew the circuit, so he did not think anything was wrong at this stage."
The co-pilot thought his colleague was still playing around, so continued with flying the aircraft around the circuit in Lancashire.
"As he turned onto base leg the instructor slumped over with his head resting on the pilot’s shoulder," the report continued.
"The pilot still thought the instructor was just joking with him and continued to fly the approach.
"He landed normally. However, the instructor was still resting on his shoulder and was not responding, and the pilot realised something was wrong."
The Civil Aviation Authority's medical department concluded that the deceased instructor had died from an acute cardiac arrest.
They added that they will continue to review health guidance as a result of this tragic event but added that accidents caused by cardiac events are rare.Featured Image Credit: Barrie Harwood / Joao Cabral / Alamy Stock Photo