Passengers had no idea that two co-pilots took the controls of a Boeing 777 and brought the Continental flight down safely at Newark Airport hours after the captain had died — although a flight attendant reportedly asked whether a doctor was on board.
Flight 61, with 247 passengers, was nearly halfway through its 7-hour flight from Germany when the 60-year-old unidentified captain died of natural causes, Continental officials said.
Whether that means he had a heart attack or something else, they wouldn’t say.
A relief pilot took over and the plane touched down just before noon today, they said.
“The company has been in touch with his family and we extend our deepest sympathies,” Continental said in a statement.
Interestingly, as recently as two yeasr ago, federal law required pilots to retire at 60. But Congress hiked the limit to 65 in December 2007.