UPDATED: Continental pilot dies mid-flight, co-pilots land plane safely

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The pilot onboard a Continental Airlines flight died of natural causes en route from Brussels to Newark, forcing the crew to declare an in-flight emergency, according to published reports.

Co-pilots landed the plane safely at Newark at about noon on Thursday. There were 247 passengers aboard.

The name of the 61-year-old deceased pilot has not been released. A Continental spokeswoman said the pilot had 21 years of service with the airline, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

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