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06/10/2015 09:05 BST | Updated 06/10/2015 09:59 BST

American Airlines Flight 550 Forced To Divert After Pilot Dies Mid-Flight

An American Airlines flight was forced to divert on Monday after its pilot died.

Flight 550, en route from Phoenix to Boston, made an emergency landing at Syracuse in upstate New York, CNN reported.

The Airbus A320 was being operated by US Airways, now part of American Airlines.

According to audio posted on LiveATC.net, someone in the cockpit told air traffic control: "Medical emergency, captain is incapacitated. Request handling for runway.”

Syracuse Fire Chief Timothy Hess said that emergency services responded to an unconscious person on the plane, which was carrying 147 passengers and five crew at the time.

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CNN said an airline official did not specify the cause of the pilot’s death, simply saying it was from an illness.

Although the plane finally landed in Boston nearly five hours after its scheduled arrival, many passengers were quick to praise the air crew’s handling of the incident.

Peter McSwiggin told WCVB: "If it wasn't for the copilot using a cool head, it might have been more disastrous."

A statement from the airline said: "We are incredibly saddened by this event, and we are focused on caring for our pilot's family and colleagues."