A plane packed with tourists was forced to make an emergency landing after a pilot suffered a fatal heart attack in the cockpit.
The 49-year-old co-pilot was pronounced dead after the Russian state airline Aeroflot Airbus 320 landed at Platov International Airport in Rostov-on-Don, southern Russia.
He “died during the landing” despite the efforts of paramedics.
The aircraft was flying at 33,000 ft from Moscow to the popular Black Sea resort of Anapa.
A female passenger said: “A female flight attendant ran through the plane asking if there was a doctor because one of the crew members was feeling unwell.
“Several minutes later we were told that the aircraft was performing an emergency landing.”
The captain sought an immediate emergency landing at the nearest airport, local media reports.
Flight SU1546 flight left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport at 8.20 am local time and landed at Rostov at 9.57 am.
The flight was reportedly prepared to continue to Anapa with a replacement co-pilot.
“Unfortunately it was not possible to resuscitate the pilot,” an Aeroflot spokesman told a local news outlet.
“He died in the ambulance. We express our sincere condolences to his family and friends.”
Reports said the preliminary cause of death was a heart attack or thrombosis.
The Russian Investigative Committee’s southern investigative department has launched a probe into the incident.
Last month, another Russian plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a passenger announced he had a gun on board.
The man boarded the flight without suspicion at Moscow’s main international airport for the Aeroflot flight on October 10.
He then told a flight attendant he was armed before the pilot immediately requested an emergency landing.