An American Airlines co-pilot tragically died while in flight, just minutes before landing in New Mexico Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

While in the air on Wednesday afternoon, an American Airlines co-pilot identified as William “Mike” Grubbs died after becoming incapacitated. The plane was just two miles away from landing in Albuquerque, N.M., when the captain announced a “medical emergency” over the intercom.

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The plane, which had traveled from Dallas-Fort Worth, landed safely in New Mexico, and Grubbs received CPR for almost 40 minutes once on the ground. Unfortunately, he was unable to be revived and was pronounced dead. The cause of his death was not immediately revealed.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Grubbs’ family during this difficult time,” a spokesperson for the airline said, adding that American Airlines is “deeply saddened” by the co-pilot’s passing.

“Despite heroic efforts to revive him, Mike passed away,” American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said in a letter to airline workers on Thursday morning.

The aircraft had 136 passengers and six crew members, including the pilot and co-pilot, on board. This is sadly not the first time an incident like this has occurred. In 2015, American Airlines captain Michael Johnson died after falling ill on an overnight flight from Phoenix to Boston. In that instance, the co-pilot was able to safely divert and land the plane in Syracuse.

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