Authorities Investigating Las Vegas Tower Controller Incapacitation

Audio recordings reveal concern from pilots.

McCarran International Airport
Las Vegas is one of the busiest airports in the U.S.McCarran International Airport

Federal and airport authorities are currently investigating why a female air traffic controller at Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport became incapacitated and unable to direct traffic last Wednesday night.

According to audio recordings uploaded to the internet, as well as reporting from the Associated Press, the controller can be heard mumbling and making mistakes in reading callsigns and later coughing.

Pilots voiced concern on the tower frequency, and communicated between themselves to maintain safe traffic movement although no loss of separation between aircraft was reported. Another controller, who had been on a break, eventually took control of the frequency as paramedics responded. Before she became unable to manage the traffic, the controller worked for just over an hour and spoke to 29 aircraft. As a result of this event, two controllers are now required to be in the tower during busy hours.