Passengers were not aware of the incident till the flight from Brussels landed in Newark. When the flight (Boeing 777) was over the Atlantic Ocean, an announcement came over the loudspeaker asking if there was a doctor on board. Several passengers approached the cockpit, including a doctor who said that the pilot appeared to have suffered a heart attack.
Dr Julien Struyven, 72, a cardiologist and radiologist from Brussels, examined the pilot in the cockpit and tried to revive him using a defibrillator. But it was too late. "He was not alive," Struyven said. There was "no chance at all" of saving him.
The Continental Airlines said that the deceased pilot was based in Newark and had worked for the airlines for 32 years. However his name was not immediately released.
In a similar incident in 2007, another Continental pilot died at the controls after becoming ill during a flight from Houston to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It landed safely with a co-pilot at the controls after being diverted to McAllen, Texas.