Safety agency reveals how both pilots of a commercial aircraft fell asleep in-flight

Monday, March 11, 2024
 – 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 his 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, seen by AFP on Friday, March was uploaded to the agency’s website in late February.

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 according to the report.

About half an hour after the plane took off, the captain asked permission from his second-in-command to rest for a while, with the request being granted.

The co-pilot then took over command of the aircraft, but also inadvertently fell asleep, the report said.

“The second-in-command had one-month twin babies. His wife took care of the babies and he assisted while at home,” 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 his co-pilot was asleep and 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.

Investigators did not identify the pilots but said they were both Indonesians and were aged 32 and 28.

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