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Alaska Airlines Captain Passes Out During Flight

The Alaska Airlines pilot who lost consciousness during a Seattle-bound flight Thursday night, prompting an emergency landing, was suffering from food poisoning or a stomach virus, an airline spokesman said Friday.

The co-pilot of Flight 473 safely landed the jetliner in Portland, Ore., after declaring an emergency to get priority care for the pilot, spokesman Paul McElroy said. All of the airline’s pilots are trained to fly single-handedly.

McElroy said the pilot was in good condition Friday at a hospital where doctors examined him. The airline declined to release the pilot’s name or age.

The Boeing 737-700 with 116 passengers and five crew members left Los Angeles at about 6:30 p.m. and had been scheduled to arrive in Seattle at 9:30 p.m. It touched down in Portland at about 9 p.m.

The pilot lost consciousness near Eugene, Ore., and hit his head, McElroy said. He then later regained consciousness and left the cockpit. A doctor aboard the flight tended to the pilot in the cabin until the plane landed and was met by medical personnel on the runway.

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