The pilot of a Philippine Airlines flight from Manila with 79 passengers, including Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, on board apparently suffered a mild stroke 37 miles from the Bacolod-Silay Airport prompting his co-pilot to take over and safely land the plane late yesterday afternoon, airport manager Antonio Alfonso said.
The co-pilot called in to inform authorities of the situation and to have an ambulance ready, Alfonso said.
There was no emergency situation as far as flying the Airbus 320 was concerned, no one was injured, and the co-pilot landed Flight 135 at 5:37 p.m., Alfonso said.
The pilot was Capt. Alex Carvajal and the co-pilot was First Officer Donato Cabigo Jr. who is from Murcia town in Negros Occidental, he added.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will investigate the incident, Alfonso said.
Leonardia, who went to Manila to meet with Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, said their plane left Manila at 4:35 p.m. and they did not notice anything amiss except for slight turbulence amid cloudy weather.
He only discovered that the pilot had a stroke when the plane had landed, the mayor said.
Alfonso said PAL was flying in a replacement pilot to fly the plane back to Manila.
Job Lamela, PAL Bacolod manager, said Carvajal did not pass out and was in fact speaking while undergoing treatment at a Bacolod hospital.
“We don’t know yet if you can call what happened a stroke,” he said.