Pilot dies while plane takes off from Chicago

An Envoy Air pilot passed out while taking off from Chicago O’Hare International Airport and was later pronounced dead, officials said on Tuesday. The co-pilot took control of the plane and managed to land safely.

The incident involved Envoy Air Flight 3556, an Embraer E175 aircraft, which was scheduled to fly to Columbus, Ohio on Saturday night. The flight was flown for American Eagle, which – like Envoy Air – is part of American Airlines.

“We need to return. Captain is incapacitated,” the co-pilot told air traffic control just seconds after taking off from Chicago’s international airport. The plane landed safely a short time later.

“Despite heroic efforts to revive him, Captain in training, Patrick Ford, passed away,” Ric Wilson, the Vice President of Flight Operations at Envoy Air, said in a message to fellow pilots. “We are deeply saddened by this loss.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident. Aviation sources said Ford died of a heart attack, although officials were not able to confirm that.

“Sincere thanks to Line Check Airman, Captain Brandon Hendrickson, for his leadership and professionalism in the safe handling of his aircraft, passengers and crew,” Wilson said.

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