Author Topic: LAS controller having medical emergency?  (Read 1836 times)

Offline silagi

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LAS controller having medical emergency?
« on: November 09, 2018, 01:53:29 PM »
A friend alerted me to this clip from LAS Tower where it sounds like the controller might have been having a stroke or some other kind of medical issue.  At the beginning of the clip, it sounds like her speech is impaired then she starts having problems giving correct clearances.  Eventually, she just stops answering and the pilots start talking amongst themselves.  About 20 minutes into it, she has a hot mic and can be heard coughing and then what sounds like someone walking into the tower and asking if she is OK.  At that point, another controller takes over.    It was around midnight when this was recorded and it sounds like she was working alone while the other controller was probably on a break.  Pretty scary.



Offline Eric M

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 03:46:43 PM »
There's a lengthy conversation about this on Reddit. No answers, though... only more questions.

Offline abexaemh18

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 04:39:38 PM »
Have a link to that by chance?

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 04:39:38 PM »

Online Fryy

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 04:50:50 PM »

Offline tyketto

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 05:18:19 PM »
Very scary indeed. At that time, Ground is combined, Clearance delivery is combined at Ground, and Ramp control is in a separate building/tower, so there would basically be two, possibly 3 controllers and a supervisor there in the cab. However, the way she was slurring, it sounds like it could have been a minor stroke to an embolism. She's trying to keep it together, but from how she's sounding, it sounds more like a health issue than something like intoxication. Regardless, that's a very scary situation indeed. Configuration #3 was in use at the time. Landing 26L, 1R, and 1L, departing 1L/1R.

BL.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 05:23:38 PM by tyketto »


Offline wrxloaf

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2018, 12:43:57 PM »
Ah yes the FAA is very quick to punish midnight shifts across the board with a pre-holiday weekend decision...

Meanwhile Drunkee McGee's personal display of negligence isn't the topic of concern.

Offline comperini

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2018, 05:44:38 PM »
Since she's been fired, I don't think it was a medical issue. According to this, she's no longer employed

https://www.ktnv.com/news/mccarran-air-traffic-controller-becomes-incapacitated-while-on-duty

Offline tyketto

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2018, 07:43:50 PM »
Ah yes the FAA is very quick to punish midnight shifts across the board with a pre-holiday weekend decision...

Meanwhile Drunkee McGee's personal display of negligence isn't the topic of concern.

Talk is that she had a stroke, not was drunk. But let's not take away from any of your potentially false assumptions.

BL.

Offline silagi

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2018, 11:13:34 PM »
The article says that she no longer works for the FAA.  It does not say that she was fired. I highly doubt that she was fired.  She worked for the federal government.  In the government world of employment it takes time to terminate people.  Things just don't happen that quickly. 

I worked in law enforcement for 30 years before retiring.  I dealt with more than my fair share of drunks.  She did not sound drunk.  It sounded like a medical issue to me. 

She sounds just fine in this earlier clip.

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/klas/KLAS4-Twr-Both-Nov-08-2018-0630Z.mp3

and starts to deteriorate in the later half of this clip.

http://archive-server.liveatc.net/klas/KLAS4-Twr-Both-Nov-08-2018-0700Z.mp3
« Last Edit: November 15, 2018, 12:02:55 AM by silagi »

Offline englishpilot

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2018, 09:28:54 PM »
What concerns me the most is the fact that by all accounts no pilot contacted another relevant frequency such as approach / departure to trigger some action.  They may have done but in my opinion it should have been done sooner. 

I hope her health is improving and if she does read this I wish her the best.
I don't proclaim to be the best pilot in the world but I'm safe.

Offline tyketto

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2018, 03:35:58 AM »
What concerns me the most is the fact that by all accounts no pilot contacted another relevant frequency such as approach / departure to trigger some action.  They may have done but in my opinion it should have been done sooner. 

I hope her health is improving and if she does read this I wish her the best.

Let's answer that with another question. How do we know that that didn't happen? So far, the clips involved are only from the LCL feed. nothing from L30 has been pulled around this timeframe, to my knowledge. If they are still available, it may be worth doing that. L30 would have been combined at that point, where Approach and Departure would have been on the same frequency. Give +/- 30 minutes, and you should have everything relative to the time in question.

Also, seeing that she did respond on frequency meant that she accepted the handoff by the approach controller, relieving that controller of any duties with the pilots being dropped of their target on the radar. LCL accepted them, so to the pilot, that's all that would have mattered.

BL.

Offline Carro

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency? TRACON and ramp feeds
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2018, 01:57:39 PM »
Here is audio from depature/approach and ramp. It has been edited but it took a little bit over 20 minutes from the time the first pilot reported it to the time someone came up to the tower.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2018, 02:02:06 PM by Carro »

Offline tim.landscheidt

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2018, 01:55:33 PM »
The article says that she no longer works for the FAA.  It does not say that she was fired. I highly doubt that she was fired.  She worked for the federal government.  In the government world of employment it takes time to terminate people.  Things just don't happen that quickly. 

[…]

According to several news outlets (https://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/local-news/officials-las-vegas-air-traffic-controller-who-went-silent-resigned/1594710725, https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas-air-traffic-controller-resigned-congressional-aide-says-1526294/), an aide for Congresswoman Dina Titus who is a member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation said that the controller "resigned Sunday" (2018-11-11, three days after the event).  I'd find it unusual if a government employee quits in such a way (especially three days after a severe illness) unless to prevent being fired for cause.

Offline tyketto

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2018, 03:30:54 AM »
The article says that she no longer works for the FAA.  It does not say that she was fired. I highly doubt that she was fired.  She worked for the federal government.  In the government world of employment it takes time to terminate people.  Things just don't happen that quickly. 

[…]

According to several news outlets (https://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/local-news/officials-las-vegas-air-traffic-controller-who-went-silent-resigned/1594710725, https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas-air-traffic-controller-resigned-congressional-aide-says-1526294/), an aide for Congresswoman Dina Titus who is a member of the House Subcommittee on Aviation said that the controller "resigned Sunday" (2018-11-11, three days after the event).  I'd find it unusual if a government employee quits in such a way (especially three days after a severe illness) unless to prevent being fired for cause.

It could be that she finally recovered enough from whatever illness it was (still looks like stroke) to be able to put in an official word as to her status. It would be even more unusual if after this she tried to keep her job and return to duty. But if you take into account any type of healing process to even become coherent after that, and you do have enough time to make the decision.

BL.

Offline tim.landscheidt

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2018, 03:14:49 PM »
[…]
It could be that she finally recovered enough from whatever illness it was (still looks like stroke) to be able to put in an official word as to her status. It would be even more unusual if after this she tried to keep her job and return to duty. But if you take into account any type of healing process to even become coherent after that, and you do have enough time to make the decision.

Why would she resign if she just had a probably life-altering illness?  She would lose her source of income at a time when she probably had a substantial increase in expenditures that are not all covered by insurance.  (In addition, from a German perspective I find reacting in any way after three days very odd.  If I had a light cold, my doctor would give me a sick note for a week.  For a stroke that would probably be months before it is clear if and how I could resume my previous duties, or if my employer would have to and could find another occupation for me.  Those are complex medical and legal issues, and at least here they would probably not be resolved in two office days.)

Offline tyketto

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2018, 06:03:38 PM »
[…]
It could be that she finally recovered enough from whatever illness it was (still looks like stroke) to be able to put in an official word as to her status. It would be even more unusual if after this she tried to keep her job and return to duty. But if you take into account any type of healing process to even become coherent after that, and you do have enough time to make the decision.

Why would she resign if she just had a probably life-altering illness?  She would lose her source of income at a time when she probably had a substantial increase in expenditures that are not all covered by insurance.  (In addition, from a German perspective I find reacting in any way after three days very odd.  If I had a light cold, my doctor would give me a sick note for a week.  For a stroke that would probably be months before it is clear if and how I could resume my previous duties, or if my employer would have to and could find another occupation for me.  Those are complex medical and legal issues, and at least here they would probably not be resolved in two office days.)

You can't predict when you have a stroke or something that suddenly debilitates you. No-one can prepare for that, let alone WHEN something like that would happen. But when you think about it, especially after a stroke, since it affects the flow of blood to the brain, not all proper brain functionality, let alone situational awareness may return. And in ATC, you have to have that awareness. After a stroke has occurred, that awareness and response to reflexes have to be tested. If she failed those tests, it would be better for her to resign rather than be fired. The big reason for that:

Pension and benefits.

She had a great performance record for what she has done, so why should she lose all of the benefits she would have coming to her through no fault of her own? If she did this maliciously, then we could all understand why she would be fired. But for a medical reason, she shouldn't be fired from her position for that.

Again, she probably failed out of any medical tests to clear her for getting back in the tower, so her career was essentially over anyway. She retires with grace rather than be fired for, again, something beyond her control.

BL.

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Re: LAS controller having medical emergency?
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2018, 06:03:38 PM »