A commercial airliner pilot fell asleep mid-flight, causing the plane to veer off course

An Indonesian commercial airliner pilot fell asleep during a flight in January, causing the plane to veer off course. The pilots flew for about half an hour without supervision.

Indonesian National Transport Safety Committee The report was released on Friday It shows how Batek Air pilots were asleep for about 28 minutes before descending into Jakarta on January 25.

The two pilots were on a return flight from Sulawesi to Jakarta, a flight that lasted two and a half hours, with 153 passengers on board. One pilot got permission to rest from the other when the second fell asleep, leaving air traffic control and nearby pilots trying to get to the plane.

“The Jakarta ACC made several attempts to contact BTK6723, including asking other pilots to contact BTK6723,” the report said. “None of the calls were answered by the pilots of BTK6723.”

The report says the pilot in charge slept for about an hour before he was asked if his second in command wanted to switch and rest as well, which he refused. According to the report, the pilot in command went back to sleep before the second pilot “unintentionally fell asleep.”

The second pilot had month-old twin babies and was severely sleep deprived, according to the report.

The pilot of the plane woke up to find the second one asleep, so he quickly woke him up and returned the plane to its intended course. The plane then landed in Jakarta without any incident.

Sleeping in the cabin is not uncommon among commercial pilots, who have standard safety procedures to ensure that one alert and comfortable pilot is always at the helm.

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Batek Air said the two pilots were “temporarily grounded.” France Press agency Agence France-Presse reported.

The country's Ministry of Transport “strongly reprimands” the airline over the incident.

“We will conduct an investigation and review of Indonesia’s night-flying operation regarding fatigue risk management for Batik Air and all flight operators,” Maria Christie Indah Murni, director of Indonesian Civil Aviation, said, according to AFP.

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