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Pilot Dies On American Flight To Boston

A pilot fell ill and died on an American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Boston on Monday, airline and police officials said.

The Airbus A320, with 148 passengers and five crew members onboard, touched down at Syracuse Hancock Airport shortly after 7 am EDT, a spokeswoman said.

"Medical emergency. Captain is incapacitated," the copilot told air traffic controllers, according to a recording posted on

Asking for directions to an airport gate that could be quickly accessed by emergency medical personnel, he said, "We'll need them to get to the captain."

The 57-year-old pilot from Utah was pronounced dead on board the plane a few minutes after it landed, Syracuse Police Lieutenant Eric Carr said.

There was no further comment, including on whether the pilot died in the air or on the ground, the nature of the illness and any further identification of the pilot or copilot. The Onondaga County, New York, medical examiner's office referred all questions to the police.

The flight later continued with a replacement crew and landed in Boston in the early afternoon.