Airlines Have Difficulty Identifying Pilots with Mental Health Issues

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You have probably heard about the tragic airplane accident in the French Alps that killed 150 people. The accident occurred after the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cockpit, took control of the plane, and deliberately crashed it into a mountainside.

airplane pilots

After the accident, reports have been slowly coming out about the co-pilot’s mental state. He received treatment for serious depression six years ago. He had searched online for how to commit suicide, as well as for safety precautions related to cockpit doors. The co-pilot also had complained of vision and hearing problems after a car crash. He had spoken to a girlfriend about his intentions to carry out something big that people would remember. He had been taking medication that would treat depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks. On the day of the accident, he had been excused from work by a doctor, but the crumpled doctor’s note was found at his home.

It may appear that there should have been plenty of warnings about the dangers of the co-pilot’s mental condition. However, experts say that it’s difficult to identify pilots with mental health issues. Many warn that it may be tough to prevent similar incidents in the future. The co-pilot in this situation had passed suitability tests after his depression and was classified as ready to fly.

Many airlines require pilots to undergo a rigorous medical exam before hiring which includes psychological tests, and also require psychological tests every year. Airlines also regularly provide access to confidential counseling services. But these measures cannot stop every mentally disturbed employee, and many pilots are unwilling to admit when they have problems.

This plane crash hopefully served as a wake-up call to airlines to overhaul some of their mental health evaluation systems. If an airline fails to properly screen employees, and an employee’s negligence or intentional actions cause an accident, the airline can be held liable.

If you have been involved in an airplane accident, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 855-947-0707. You can also visit us on LinkedIn to learn more. Call today for your free consultation. 

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