NewsPilots' nap mid-flight leads to investigation in Indonesia

Pilots' nap mid‑flight leads to investigation in Indonesia

Pilots of the Indonesian airline Batik Air fell asleep for 28 minutes during the flight.
Pilots of the Indonesian airline Batik Air fell asleep for 28 minutes during the flight.
Images source: © Getty Images | Afriadi Hikmal/NurPhoto

2:17 PM EDT, March 11, 2024

The incident involved two pilots from the Batik Air Indonesian airline who dozed off for 28 minutes mid-flight, as reported by India Today, which cited findings from the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee. The mishap took place on January 25th during a flight from Kendari to Jakarta. The authorities have deemed it a serious aviation incident. The plane was carrying 153 passengers and four crew members, all of whom remained unharmed.

Investigation launched by the Ministry

The Indonesian Ministry of Transportation is probing into the occurrence, reports CNN based on Antara news agency's report. The flight's deviation from its planned route was attributed to the pilots' slumber, leading to significant navigational errors.

Per the investigation report, one of the pilots confessed to his colleague about his lack of "adequate rest". After the plane reached cruising altitude post-takeoff from Kendari, he sought permission to take a short rest, leaving the controls to the other pilot. Approximately 90 minutes into the flight, the second pilot also succumbed to sleep, albeit unintentionally.

Tired pilot requests a break, both end up sleeping

Twelve minutes after the last known communication, the Jakarta control center's attempts to reach the aircraft were met with silence, as the pilots were unresponsive. Roughly 28 minutes later, one of the pilots woke up, discovered the plane off course, alerted his colleague, and then re-established contact with air traffic control. The flight thereafter resumed its correct path and safely landed in Jakarta.

NBC News highlighted that the official report didn't specify any disciplinary actions against the Batik Air staff involved. On January 25th, both pilots were medically cleared for flight, having undergone blood pressure and pulse checks with normal results. Additionally, alcohol tests returned negative. It was noted by NBC that one of the pilots, a new father to one-month-old twins, was also dealing with personal adjustments in the days leading up to the flight.

Source: India Today, CNN, NBC News

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