Two Ethiopian Airlines pilots fell asleep while on a flight from Khartoum, Sudan, to Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, and missed landing. The incident happened on Monday, according to Aviation Herald, which adds that air traffic control (ATC) issued an alert when flight ET343 approached the airport but did not initiate the descent. While the pilots fell asleep, the Boeing 737’s autopilot system kept the plane cruising at 37,000 feet, the outlet added. He added that the plane remained on the ground for about 2.5 hours before leaving for its next flight.
ATC tried to contact the pilots several times but was unsuccessful. When the aircraft overflew the runway where it was to land, the autopilot disconnected. This set off an alarm, which woke up the pilots, according to Aviation Herald.
They then maneuvered the plane to land on the runway 25 minutes later, the outlet added.
Fortunately, no one was injured and the plane landed safely.
Data from ADS-B aviation surveillance system confirmed that the incident took place and that the aircraft overflew the runway. He posted an image of the plane’s flight path, which shows an infinite loop near Addis Ababa airport.
Aeronautical analyst Alex Macheras also posted about the event on Twitter, calling it “deeply concerning”. He also blamed pilot fatigue for it.
A similar incident was reported in May when two pilots fell asleep on a flight from New York to Rome while the plane was flying at 38,000 feet above the ground.
An investigation was carried out by the aviation regulator, which confirmed that the two ITA Airways pilots slept as their Airbus 330 flew over France.
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