TODAY   |  February 01, 2013

Plane makes emergency landing after pilot faints

Alaska Airlines flight 473 was traveling from L.A. to Seattle when its pilot suddenly became unconscious. The first officer took over the controls and landed safely in Portland, Ore., where the pilot was taken to the hospital. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> another breaking story this morning. a pilot lost consciousness during an alaska airlines flight to seattle . his co-pilot was then forced to make an emergency landing in portland , oregon. tom costello covers aviation for us. good morning to you.

>> good morning, savannah. this is why commercial airplanes always have two pilots in the cockpit. alaska airlines flight 473 flying from l.a. to seattle that left l.a. about 6:40 pm . it was mid flight when the pilot suddenly became unconscious. the plane was on autopilot at the time. the first officer took over the controls and declared an emergency and put the plane down in portland , oregon. a doctor on board helped to treat the pilot and paramedics in portland then met the plane on the ramp and assisted with treatment before taking him to a nearby hospital. we don't have any word on his condition. we're told he is a 28-year veteran pilot. the first officer is an 11-year veteran pilot. some of the passengers were rebooked on a shuttle flight to seattle while others had to wait for a replacement pt pilot till midnight. we have cell phone video of a flight in denver, scheduled to come into san diego -- rather from san diego to new york city was diverted due to an unruly passenger onboard. jetblue 185 landed in denver about 7:156789 our affiliate there, kusa reports it was a, quo quote, customer service issue between a flight attendant and female passenger. once she was escorted off the plane, the flight was back in the air. denver police , tsa and fbi are now investigating that incident.