Dutch pilot dies flying Thai airliner

Thai_Lion_B737
A Thai Lion Air Boeing 737-900 (Mridzario/Wikimedia Commons).

The Dutch co-pilot of a Thai Lion Air flight passed out 20 minutes after take-off, and died soon after. Peter Esberte was 47 years old when collapsed during the flight from Hat Yai, Thailand to Bangkok, the Bangkok Post reported.

Though the newspaper initially reported the cause of death as unknown, Dutch media later reported the pilot had a heart attack.

The medical emergency began as the Boeing 737-900 climbed past 3,000 feet. The plane was turned around and flown back to Hat Yai in southern Thailand. The flight took off at about 12:15 p.m. and landed in Hat Yai at 1:20 p.m., an airline spokesman said.

Esberte died en route to the hospital. He had two medical check-ups in February and March with no known problems, the Thai Lion Air representative said. The pilot had been with the airline since its launch in December 2013.

The flight had been scheduled to land at Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport at 1:45 p.m. It arrived at about 4:05 p.m.

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