United Airlines flight to SFO diverts after co-pilot passes out

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For the second time this week, airlines have dealt with medical emergencies while in flight. (KGO-TV)

For the second time this week, airlines have dealt with medical emergencies while in flight. An American Airlines pilot died on Monday and on Tuesday, a United Airlines co-pilot became ill and unconscious.

During United Airlines Flight 1614 from Houston to San Francisco, the plane's first officer suddenly lost consciousness and the plane made an emergency landing.

Just before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Boeing 787 with 177 passengers on board was forced to divert to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"We saw multiple fire engines, police cars, ambulances. It was quite something," United passenger Lori Ferguson said.

Ferguson said it was then she and other passengers were told the co-pilot had suffered a massive seizure.

A doctor on board stepped in to help and United says a new crew member was brought in.

When passenger Carmen Christenson was asked what went through her mind, she replied, "Well, I thought about what happened yesterday. It was a little scary but everyone was being so calm."

On Monday, an American Airlines pilot died on a flight from Phoenix to Boston, shocking those on board. Just like Tuesday, there was praise for how the situation was handled on Monday.

READ MORE: American Airlines pilot dies mid-flight

"No problem, nobody felt fear, nobody felt nothing. Very professional," a passenger said.

Aviation consultant Mike McCarron said medical emergencies are one reason planes have two pilots in the cockpit.

"Everything worked according to plan. The other pilot took over, handled the rest of the flight, declared the emergency, got everyone on the ground safely and got medical attention to his partner," he said.

McCarron said what happened in the skies this week is extremely rare. Pilots undergo thorough physicals each year.

United hasn't commented on their pilot's condition.
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