In an impressive display of crew resource management, the two remaining pilots of a Delta Boeing 777 conducted a steep emergency descent to a landing at Moncton, New Brunswick while using a defibrillator to stabilize the first officer. The FO became incapacitated when the widebody was 60 nautical miles from Moncton at 40,000 feet on a flight from Frankfurt to Chicago. The aircraft was on the ground within 15 minutes of the crew declaring an emergency and the FO was in the local hospital a short time later.
When the FO became ill, the captain called for the relief pilot to help get him out of his seat and on the floor where he was hooked up to the defibrillator in what was termed a “successful” use of the device. Meanwhile, the aircraft was dropping like a stone with descent rates as high as about 6,000 feet a minute to get to thicker air for the stricken pilot and to make the airport. The 777 lost 38,000 feet in a little more than 10 minutes. Heavy jets normally divert to Halifax because it has more facilities for passengers but this was a cargo-only flight. Moncton has plenty of runway for big jets. It was a Cold War RCAF base.