Pilots fall asleep mid-air as plane with 153 passengers veers off flight path

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A representational image. — AFP/File
A representational image. — AFP/File

A passenger plane with 153 passengers on board narrowly escaped a disaster when both of its pilots fell asleep mid-flight and the aircraft veered off its path.

The incident took place in Indonesia on January 25, 2024.

The Indonesian transport ministry would launch investigations against the pilot and the co-pilot involved in the incident, state news agency Antara reported, quoting the ministry’s civil aviation director-general M Kristi Endah Murni.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) said: “Both the pilot and co-pilot fell asleep simultaneously for 28 minutes during a flight from Kendari in Southeast Sulawesi province to the capital Jakarta on January 25, causing navigational errors as the aircraft was not in the correct flight path.”

In its preliminary report, the KNKT preliminary said: “None on board — including 153 passengers and four flight attendants - were injured during the flight, and there was no damage to the aircraft.”

The flight BTK6723 lasted two hours and 35 minutes and successfully landed in Jakarta, CNN reported.

The report further said that the second-in-command pilot had told his co-pilot earlier in the day that he had not had “proper rest.”

“We will conduct an investigation and review of the night flight operation in Indonesia regarding the Fatigue Risk Management for Batik Air and other flight operators,” Murni said in a statement, according to Antara.