Transatlantic pilot dies mid-flight

Co-pilots were forced to take over the controls and land a transatlantic passenger jet in the US today after the captain died mid-flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Continental Airlines flight 61 from Brussels landed safely at Newark Airport in New Jersey shortly before 5pm (UK time).

Earlier, its 61-year-old pilot died en route of natural causes.

In a statement, Continental expressed its deepest sympathies to the pilot's family.

The Boeing 777 took off this morning from Brussels carrying around 250 passengers.

The crew included an additional relief pilot who took over from the dead captain, Continental said.

As it approached its destination for landing, the jet was given priority handling amid poor weather.