Pilot who became ill aboard flight died of natural causes

Credit: AP File Photo

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — A New York medical examiner says an American Airlines pilot who became ill while flying from Phoenix to Boston died from natural causes.

The Onondaga County medical examiner’s office on Monday night announced the determination in the death of 57-year-old Capt. Michael Johnston. Officials say the determination was made after an autopsy and preliminary toxicology tests. No other details have been released.

American Airlines says Flight 550 was carrying 147 passengers when Johnston was stricken. His co-pilot calmly took over and safely landed the plane in Syracuse on Monday morning.

Johnston was a graduate of Brigham Young University. He began his career with America West Airlines in 1990 as a first officer and later was upgraded to captain.

He was married and is survived by a wife and children.

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