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Indonesian airline pilots fell asleep mid-flight: agency


One of the pilots had not rested adequately on the night before the flight, says the report. Representational image.
| Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Indonesian air safety agency has called for better pilot fatigue monitoring mechanisms, after an investigation revealed that both pilots of a commercial aircraft had recently fallen asleep in-flight.

A pilot and co-pilot were simultaneously asleep for approximately 28 minutes during a Batik Air flight from South East Sulawesi to the capital Jakarta on January 25, a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said. The report was uploaded to the agency’s website in late February.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago with a poor air safety record.

One of the pilots had not rested adequately on the night before the flight, the report said.

The incident resulted in a series of navigation errors, but the Airbus A320’s 153 passengers and four flight attendants were unharmed during the two-hour-and-35-minute flight.

About half an hour after the plane took off, the captain asked permission from his second-in-command to rest for a while. The co-pilot then took over command of the aircraft, but also inadvertently fell asleep, the report said.

A few minutes after the last recorded transmission by the co-pilot, the area control centre in Jakarta tried to contact the aircraft. It received no answer. Twenty-eight minutes after the last recorded transmission, the pilot woke up and realised that the aircraft was not on the correct flight path. He immediately woke his colleague up, responded to the calls from Jakarta and corrected the flight path, the report said.

The plane landed safely after the incident.



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