In October 2021, a rumor started circulating on social media that a Delta pilot died mid-flight from a COVID-19 vaccination, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing. While this claim was widespread, the details were scarce. The name of the alleged pilot was not provided, nor was the date of the incident or the location of the landing.
This rumor gained prominence after Dr. Jane Ruby made an appearance on the "Stew Peters Show" on Oct. 11, 2021. Ruby, who doesn't appear to be a practicing medical doctor but is a former "Washington DC health economist and New Right political pundit," has made several false claims concerning COVID-19 vaccines. She falsely claimed, for example, that projections showed that vaccinations would cause more deaths than the disease, that COVID-19 vaccines contain graphene oxide, and that the vaccines were magnetized. Many of these claims were spread on Peters' show.
On Oct. 11, she spread another fear-mongering rumor about COVID-19 vaccines. Ruby said that a recently vaccinated Delta pilot had died mid-flight sometime in the last two weeks and that this story had been corroborated by multiple sources.
Let me just share with you a breaking story that I've had corroborated from three separate whistleblowers... A pilot died in flight, I'd say within the last 10 days ... the co-pilot told the flight attendant that the pilot was speaking normally one moment, then said a few weird things, then died. The flight had to make an emergency landing. We are now learning this is a LAX based captain. And they did land the plane safely... The co-pilot also shared with the flight attendant... that the pilot who died had told the co-pilot had completed his second (COVID-19) shot.
There is no evidence to support this claim.
As noted above, Ruby did not provide many details about this alleged incident. She didn't provide a name for the pilot, a location for the emergency landing, or a date for when this incident allegedly took place. We reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration to see if any Delta flights had made emergency landings in recent weeks, and a spokesperson told us that "the FAA has found no evidence such an event occurred."
Delta Air Lines also released a statement calling these allegations false.
Delta is aware of reports suggesting one of the airline’s pilots passed away from vaccine complications while operating a flight, resulting in an emergency landing. All of these allegations are false. The pandemic has been an incredibly tragic time for many, and our hearts go out to the hundreds of thousands of families of those who have passed away from the horrific virus.