Boeing 737 Pilots Both Fell Asleep During Two-Hour Flight, Passed Airport

pilots fall asleep during flight
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Last week, a routine passenger flight was nearly turned sideways after both pilots fell asleep while the craft was thousands of feet up.

The incident happened on Monday Ethiopian Airlines flight He was approaching his destination in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city. When the air traffic control at the city’s airport tried to contact the flight on landing, they got no response and the plane continued to take off. BBC News report.

It turned out that both pilots at the helm of the plane fell asleep, and as a result, the plane went ashore near the landing point. The plane was about 37,000 feet in the air when the pilots took off. Both pilots were eventually awakened by a beep that disengaged the ship’s autopilot and were able to land safely in Addis Ababa on a second approach, about 25 minutes after missing their initial landing.

airplane, On a Boeing 737it usually holds 154 passengers and departs from the airport in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, which is usually a two-hour flight.

pilots fall asleep in flight
The two pilots of the Ethiopian Airlines plane fell asleep while approaching the landing point. Above, an image of an Ethiopian Airlines flight in September 2020.
Kola Sulaimon/AFP via Getty Images

The pilots involved in the incident were placed on leave pending a full investigation of what happened.

“We have received a message indicating that Ethiopian flight ET343, en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa, temporarily lost contact with Addis Ababa Air Traffic Control on August 15, 2022,” Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement sent to multiple media outlets. “The flight later landed safely after communications were restored. The crew involved has been suspended pending further investigation. Appropriate corrective actions will be taken based on the results of the investigation. Safety has always been and will continue to be our first priority.”

Online reactions ranged from shock and outrage to general sympathy for the responsibilities modern pilots carry. In its report, BBC News cited comments calling for the pilots’ immediate “termination … a complete halt” and others saying “the blame lies with the corporation and regulators”.

“Pilot fatigue is nothing new and continues to pose one of the most significant threats to air safety internationally,” aviation analyst Alex Macheras tweeted about the incident.

Newsweek Ethiopian Airlines has been contacted for comment.

A similar incident was reported in May during a transatlantic flight from New York to Rome. According to an Italian news agency, the ship’s pilots fell asleep and could not be reached for about 10 minutes before waking up.

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