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Possible medically impaired controller-LAS

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Possible medically impaired controller-LAS

Old 9th Nov 2018, 16:00
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Possible medically impaired controller-LAS

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/kl...2B3sl6O-qkcjsk

Be careful out there. Sounds like she had a serious medical event. Took a long time for her to be removed from her position.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 16:09
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Extremely worrying .....
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 16:17
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29 minutes to get someone up to help her does seem way to long. The practice of having solo controllers working late shifts may need to be re-evaluated.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 16:30
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Somebody tried to ask for a supervisor on the frequency.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 16:54
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I understand several aircraft on the ground used cellphones to call 911 to try and get help
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 17:55
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Sounds like she had a very unfortunate meltdown of some kind. I feel sorry for her; you can hear her falling apart towards the end of the recording.
As said; provides compelling evidence solo controllers are not a good idea.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 17:56
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Sounds like she may have suffered a stroke or TIA, what they call a cerebro vascular accident these days. Diminishing ability to speak degenerating into word salad then just coughing, probably because she couldn’t swallow. I hope she recovers.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 18:03
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Originally Posted by thcrozier View Post
Sounds like she may have suffered a stroke or TIA, what they call a cerebro vascular accident these days. Diminishing ability to speak degenerating into word salad then just coughing, probably because she couldnít swallow. I hope she recovers.
Yes, indeed. I think you're right - not a meltdown at all - very sad and yes, a speedy recovery to her.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 22:43
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https://forums.liveatc.net/index.php...0;attach=10143

This one starts just a little earlier and you can clearly hear her ability to speak degrading. Also notice that she seems to be laughing and later on crying at inappropriate times. Those are also symptoms of a stroke or TIA.

If that’s what happened it’s a shame no one got to her sooner. Every second counts in those situations.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 22:54
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Very sad to hear. I join in sending wishes for her quick and full recovery from whatever caused the problems.
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Old 9th Nov 2018, 22:54
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Originally Posted by thcrozier View Post
https://forums.liveatc.net/index.php...0;attach=10143

This one starts just a little earlier and you can clearly hear her ability to speak degrading. Also notice that she seems to be laughing and later on crying at inappropriate times. Those are also symptoms of a stroke or TIA.

If thatís what happened itís a shame no one got to her sooner. Every second counts in those situations.
Truly sad. I hope she makes a good recovery. She sounds really nice and I bet she's really on the ball when she's on form.
Best wishes to her.
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Old 10th Nov 2018, 00:41
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Reading all the forums and the recently released FAA statement, starting to think this was not a medical episode going by the language used. Perhaps some kind of painkiller or other over the counter medication which saw her performance quickly go downhill?

Just listened to the recording an hour prior and she sounds perfectly fine. Whatever it was, it came on very quick.
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Old 10th Nov 2018, 01:26
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FAA makes staffing policy changes after Vegas controller found incapacitated

Originally Posted by Sailvi767 View Post
29 minutes to get someone up to help her does seem way to long. The practice of having solo controllers working late shifts may need to be re-evaluated.

They got on this one pretty quick:
The FAA is implementing a new controller staffing policy after a tower controller became incapacitated while working the midnight shift at McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Major airport towers no longer will be able to combine controller responsibilities to one position prior to midnight and 90 min. after the start of the shift, allowing another controller to go on break, FAA said Nov. 9.
Complete article here
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Old 10th Nov 2018, 09:58
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God bless the dear lady and hope she gets back to normal soon. It happened to a colleague of mine -a TIA - from which he recovered and returned to work.
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Old 10th Nov 2018, 17:34
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SLF here, but an EMT. - What I listened to certainly does fit the profile of a stroke from training and similar to witnessed events.
The coughing was probably due to loss of facial/throat muscular control, I would expect to see the face fallen on one side. Unlikely to be a TIA (Transient Ischemic Event) due to the length and apparent degree of the event.
Not very good news that she seemed to be working alone. Stroke awareness (in the UK at least) goes under the acronym FAST (Face drooping; Arm weakness, Speech = Time to call emergency medics), every minute untreated is a bit more dead brain tissue. I hope she'll make a good recovery though.
I would doubt medicine/alcohol related causes as she seemed to function well earlier in the shift. An allergic reaction (anaphylatic reaction) to something can't be ruled-out either.
Glad to see pilots keeping their situational awareness keen, I presume it could have been much worse with possibility of a collision.
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Old 10th Nov 2018, 18:57
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As a controller for the last 30+ years, I found this extremely difficult to listen to. From day one you are told with a chuckle to keep your board up to date in case you become incapacitated, never expecting it to actually happen. The unfortunate thing is that she was on her own which is not at uncommon scenario at even the busiest towers during the quiet hours.

This made me think how I may have handled this.

She is probably unaware what is happening to her and has no reason to suspect things are going to go bad really fast. If you have something acute, chest pains for example, you might think to recall the other controller, but with an insidious event like this, you may feel OK right up to the point where you can no longer take action to help yourself.

The aircrew obviously were alarmed by what they were hearing and took action to ensure safety was not compromised. I hope that if I were in her position that I could count on aircrew to take action on my behalf: don't ask for taxi, listen to what is going on and if you deem it necessary, call for assistance on my behalf either on your previous frequency on by phone.

None of the towers I've worked at have any formal rapid recall procedure (panic button) but I think that may change. This is more likely than providing an extra controller on night shift.

I don't see how having a specified time (midnight or 90 minutes on shift) before combining will mitigate this. If you're going to have an episode, it isn't more likely to happen before midnight than after. I doubt that a combined workload was a contributing factor but I can see that the FAA would want to be seen to be doing something, even if its really nothing.

I hope she gets all the help she needs.

Keep safe.

Last edited by cossack; 10th Nov 2018 at 23:02.
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Old 11th Nov 2018, 03:40
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Originally Posted by 2dPilot View Post
SLF here, but an EMT. - What I listened to certainly does fit the profile of a stroke from training and similar to witnessed events.
The coughing was probably due to loss of facial/throat muscular control, I would expect to see the face fallen on one side. Unlikely to be a TIA (Transient Ischemic Event) due to the length and apparent degree of the event.
Not very good news that she seemed to be working alone. Stroke awareness (in the UK at least) goes under the acronym FAST (Face drooping; Arm weakness, Speech = Time to call emergency medics), every minute untreated is a bit more dead brain tissue. I hope she'll make a good recovery though.
I would doubt medicine/alcohol related causes as she seemed to function well earlier in the shift. An allergic reaction (anaphylatic reaction) to something can't be ruled-out either.
Glad to see pilots keeping their situational awareness keen, I presume it could have been much worse with possibility of a collision.
At the beginning of the episode she doesnít seem to be able to hold the push to talk button down consistently. Toward the end sheís transmitting dead air open mike for a minute or so. Iím guessing this was due to a loss of motor control. I have no medical credentials but I have seen it up close 4 times in my life. The first was at our wedding 35 years ago. A guest acting the same way had to be driven home because he was ďdrunkĒ. He was a doctor, in fact he was on call during the proceedings. Everyone was wondering how he could be so irresponsible as to drink so much. Turned out he hadnít had a drop. He died of a stroke that night.
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Old 11th Nov 2018, 05:30
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Originally Posted by cossack View Post
As a controller for the last 30+ years, I found this extremely difficult to listen to. From day one you are told with a chuckle to keep your board up to date in case you become incapacitated, never expecting it to actually happen. The unfortunate thing is that she was on her own which is not at uncommon scenario at even the busiest towers during the quiet hours.

This made me think how I may have handled this.

Page break

I hope she gets all the help she needs.

Keep safe.

Thanks Cossack,

Iíve flown into LAS numerous times and remember her voice well - Quite recently in fact (last couple of months). She knew exactly what she was doing. They're a good natured, professional group. Hope she comes out ok.
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Old 11th Nov 2018, 23:27
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I felt sorry for the male who walked in on this and found what appeared to be his colleague in distress and then had to pick up what was happening on the airfield.

Hope the lady is OK and well done to the replacement
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