Co-pilot dies on holiday flight

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The Independent Online

A holiday flight from Manchester had to divert to Istanbul in Turkey, because the co-pilot died during the journey to Cyprus.

The GB Airways Airbus A320, with 156 passengers on board, left Manchester at 2.20pm bound for Paphos in Cyprus. The captain landed the aircraft safely at Istanbul airport at 5.45pm on Sunday.

The co-pilot, Michael Warren, 43, from Ormskirk, Lancashire, was reported to have died of natural causes. He was married and had two sons, aged five and eight. He was due to celebrate his younger son's fifth birthday yesterday.

Passengers, who were not told of the medical emergency, were put up at a hotel in Istanbul as an onward flight was organised.

The airline said: "GB Airways confirms that BA6826 from Manchester to Paphos diverted to Istanbul due to a medical emergency on the flight deck. On landing, it was confirmed that the first officer [co-pilot] had died during the flight. At no time was the aircraft, passengers or crew in any danger.

"The first officer's next of kin have been informed and our condolences are with his wife and family."

The airline said that First Officer Warren had been working with GB Airways, a franchise operator for BA, since August 2005.