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Crew saves lives when airline pilot dies in the middle of a flight

Elizabeth Licata is an editor, writer, and expat. She lives in Germany with a nice view of a castle, but misses American-style bacon more than her own mom.

Airline pilot's death in the middle of a flight doesn't stop plane from landing as planned

Flying is a generally safe and relatively easy mode of transportation, but it can still be a little scary. Traveling by plane always makes me a bit nervous, because I get anxious when I think about giving up all control over my life and safety to people up in a cockpit that I cannot even see.

Although it is easy to imagine many different things going wrong, there are actually many fail-safes in place to keep everyone safe during an unexpected event. Today a pilot actually died while the plane he was flying was in mid-flight, but thanks to the co-pilot and the rest of the crew, the plane landed safely.

According to NBC News, an American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Boston was diverted to Syracuse, New York, this morning when the captain suddenly became ill. One of the flight attendants was a nurse and attempted to revive him, but sadly, he passed away.

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The tragic situation sounds terrifying, and it's heartbreaking for his family.

The 147 passengers on board, however, had no idea what was happening. And even through what must have been an extremely difficult time for the rest of the crew, the co-pilot and flight attendants kept it together and took care of everyone on board.

They're quiet heroes.

The passengers never even knew anything was wrong. The co-pilot safely landed the plane in Syracuse at around 7 a.m., and airport security came and told passengers that they were perfectly safe and a new crew was on its way to take the flight on to its destination in Boston.

Later, after there was no risk of anyone panicking, the passengers were told what had happened to their pilot, and several said the company handled everything smoothly and professionally.

"Unfortunately, our pilot passed away. We are incredibly saddened by this event and we are focused on caring for our pilot's family and colleagues," an airline spokesperson said.

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Statistically speaking, driving a car is more dangerous than riding in an airplane, but it does not always feel that way. When I drive a car, I am at least partially in control of the situation. I'm the one looking around, keeping an eye on other cars and weather and controlling my vehicle. Even if I'm the passenger, I can still look around and say, "Hey, keep your eye on the road!"

When flying, though, I just buckle into my seat in the giant metal tube and try to watch iPad movies to avoid thinking of the fact that my life is in the hands of a whole lot of people I do not know and cannot see. It can be pretty stressful. I often sit in my little seat and imagine all the things that could possibly go wrong while we are flying, but as this story proves, airplane crews are professionals and there are fail-safes in place to make sure everybody arrives safely at their destination.

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