When a call from the flight deck asked if there were physicians on board United Airlines Flight 1603, two physicians from Madigan Army Medical Center stepped forward to help.
Both doctors, Army Captains at Joint Base Lewis-McChord were returning from a medical conference at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
The flight bound from Texas to SeaTac International Airport last night, Sept. 27, was diverted to Boise when the pilot collapsed in-flight.
The co-pilot sounded the emergency call at approximately 7:55 p.m. local time and the aircraft was on the ground in Boise by 8:10 p.m.
Eyewitness accounts indicate the pilot, Henry Skillern appeared to weigh in excess of 300 pounds and while there will autopsy results forthcoming, and it’s likely he suffered a fatal cardiac event. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Both United Airlines and authorities at the Boise airport agreed that at no time were any of the passengers in jeopardy. It’s not uncommon for flights to land with only the co-pilot at the controls.
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