Fact Check: Vaccinated Pilots Are NOT Dropping Dead Midflight

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Vaccinated Pilots Are NOT Dropping Dead Midflight Made-Up Story

Are vaccinated pilots dropping dead midflight? No, that's not true: "There is no truth to the claims about these two pilots," American Airlines told Lead Stories. The claims appear on a website known for farcical stories regarding political figures and other famous people, which Lead Stories has debunked multiple times. A message on the site notes that it "contains humor, parody, and satire."

The claim is in an article published by Real Raw News on October 27, 2021, titled "Vaccinated Pilots Dropping Dead Mid-Flight - Real Raw News" (archived here). It opened:

Pilots of Southwest Airlines and other major U.S. carriers have good reason for resisting vaccination mandates. Their fellow pilots who had taken the controversial Covid-19 vaccine have been dropping dead on both domestic and international flights. Two weeks ago, Dr. Jane Ruby claimed on the Stew Peters Show that a Delta Airlines pilot died inflight, [...]

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Vaccinated Pilots Dropping Dead Mid-Flight - Real Raw News

Pilots of Southwest Airlines and other major U.S. carriers have good reason for resisting vaccination mandates. Their fellow pilots who had taken the controversial Covid-19 vaccine have been dropping dead on both domestic and international flights. Two weeks ago, Dr. Jane Ruby claimed on the Stew Peters Show that a Delta Airlines pilot died inflight, [...]

American Airlines denied the claim that two of its pilots died in midair via an email to Lead Stories on October 29, 2021.

"The FAA has found no evidence these events occurred," the Federal Aviation Administration said in a October 29, 2021, email to Lead Stories. "Six airline pilots have died in flight since 2000, with the most recent occurring in 2017. Airlines are required to report these events to the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board."

Lead Stories conducted keyword searches and located no national news stories of pilots dying midflight in October 2021. Lead Stories has published debunks of similar claims regarding pilots who have died after receiving the vaccine here, here and here.

There are two specific examples in the article:

On October 15, American Airlines Flight 2740, an Airbus A320, was enroute from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Fort Meyers (RSW) ... It was later determined that the PIC [pilot in command] had a fatal heart attack caused by myocarditis, a known side effect of the Covid-19 vaccinations. He had received his second dose of the vaccine two weeks before that flight. His last full physical was three months prior, and his doctor had given him a clean bill of health.

The second example is:

The second fatality took place a week later, and it, too was a DFW departure. American Airlines Flight 971, an Airbus A321, departed DFW for LAX at 8:00 a.m. Midway through the flight, the co-pilot complained he had chest pains but chalked it up to having eaten a spicy meal before departure. He told the PIC it was indigestion. As the plane flew at 32,000 ft. over the New Mexico/Arizona state line, the co-pilot started convulsing and vomiting on the flight controls. At that point, the PIC contacted Air Traffic Control, requesting permission to swing around and make an emergency landing in Albuquerque, NM, but ATC, after apparently consulting American Airlines, denied the request and compelled the PIC to complete the flight to LAX.
The co-pilot died in his chair, also from acute myocarditis. He had gotten his second vaccination--Pfizer--21 days ahead of that fateful flight.

Real Raw News has a long history of publishing false claims in mock news stories, many of them about convictions and executions of various public figures at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. For example, the site reported former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hanged (she wasn't); former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta was executed (he wasn't); and that "the military" convicted former Attorney General William Barr on charges of treason (it didn't).

The website for Real Raw News includes a disclaimer that warns readers not to take its content too seriously. Specifically, it says:

Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

Real Raw snip.jpg

(Source: RealRawNews.com screenshot taken Tue Aug 3 16:39:48 UTC 2021)

Previous Lead Stories debunks of Real Raw News items are collected here .

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion