Two Cathay Pacific Airways captains suffered loss of eyesight on separate flights earlier this year, forcing their co-pilots to take command of their aircraft and issue urgent calls to air traffic control before landing safely, Hong Kong’s aviation incident authority disclosed on Tuesday.
One captain was flying from Perth, Australia, to Hong Kong on flight CX170 on February 21 when he told his first officer, the co-pilot, that he felt out of breath and his vision was impaired, before declaring he was incapacitated, according to a preliminary report by the Air Accident Investigation Authority.
The Airbus A350 carrying 270 passengers and 13 crew members was flying over Manila at 6am at the time. The first officer took command of the aircraft.
The captain was given oxygen and his condition later stabilised. He remained conscious and in communication with the first officer and a senior purser, the report said.
On January 26, the captain on flight CX583, carrying 348 passengers and 16 crew, between Sapporo and Hong Kong suffered a sudden loss of visual acuity for about 30 minutes, another preliminary report said.
The captain also told the first officer about his loss of vision, before giving up control of the Boeing 777 west of Taiwan.
He remained in his seat and secured the harness restraints to prevent any possible interruption with flight operations.
As the flight entered the Hong Kong FIR, a Pan-Pan call was declared to air traffic control to ask for a priority approach. The aircraft landed at the airport safely.
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