PILOTS on a passenger plane fell asleep mid-flight – and could not be woken up by air traffic controllers before landing.
But Ethiopian Airlines flight ET343, which flew from Khartoum in Sudan to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on Aug. 15, miraculously landed without injuries.
The pilots were due to begin their descent to Addis Ababa Bole Airport – but were still flying at 37,000 feet.
According to the Aviation Herald, air traffic control attempted to contact the pilots but was unsuccessful.
Eventually, the crew woke up after the plane’s autopilot disconnected and sounded an alarm.
The pilots managed to land the plane safely.
It stayed on the runway for about two and a half hours before departing for its next flight.
The plane had overshot the runway, although the pilots managed to make another approach when woken.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras wrote on Twitter: “Deeply worrying incident involving Africa’s largest airline – Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 #ET343 was still at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet when it reached its destination of Addis Ababa.
“Why hadn’t it started descending for a landing? Both pilots were asleep.”
He said “pilot fatigue” is “nothing new” in the airline industry.
Others called the frightening incident “dangerous”, with one replying: “Hopefully both pilots have been fired and aviation authorities are beginning an investigation into this airline’s crew, rosters etc.”
“Thank God nothing bad happened.”
Another exploded: “This is unprofessional and dangerous.”
But some said they weren’t surprised.
One social media user said: “Ex controller here.
“Trust me when I tell you it happened here too.”
In April, a similar incident occurred on a flight from New York to Rome.
About 250 passengers were on board the plane at the time, reports ABC 7 Eyewitness News.
According to an investigation, both pilots of the ITA Airways flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport slept during the journey.
They slept as the Airbus 330 flew at 38,000 feet over France.
One of the pilots fell asleep during his break – but the captain had also fallen asleep, as it turned out.
Air traffic controllers reportedly lost contact with the plane for about 10 minutes – and feared there had been a terrorist attack on board.
But as officers prepared to climb fighter jets, pilots eventually responded to air traffic control.
The captain was fired after the plane landed in Rome.
In a statement, ITA Airways said it had claimed the radios had stopped working – but added that its behavior was not “in line” with rules dictated by the company.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6032101/pilots-fall-asleep-ethiopian-airlines/ Both Boeing 737 pilots FALL ASLEEP in midair and overshoot the runway as frantic air traffic controllers try to wake them