Air Traffic Controller Who Became Incapacitated on the Job Has Quit

Nov 14, 2018

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An air traffic controller who suddenly became incapacitated while on the job has decided to resign from her position, authorities said Tuesday.

The unidentified employee had been working a solo shift in the air traffic control tower at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) last week when she began slurring her words during communication with pilots over a 40-minute period and then she “became incapacitated while on duty,” reportedly becoming unconscious sometime around midnight, the FAA said.

The AP reports that before the controller lost consciousness, pilots had difficulty understanding her instructions. Then her microphone suddenly picks up coughing and a grunt. Paramedics responded to the scene.

With no controller directing traffic, five aircraft that were inbound for McCarran remained airborne, and the planes on the ground either held their positions or communicated with each other, the FAA said. Regulators added that no “safety events” happened while the controller was incapacitated. Another air traffic controller was called into the tower to takeoff the shift. The FAA has now ordered at least two controllers be in the tower at LAS during most shifts.

Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus called the incident “deeply disturbing” and demanded answers. Authorities said the controller submitted her resignation on Sunday.

Featured image by Las Vegas-McCarran Airport on Facebook.

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