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Indonesian pilots fell asleep during flight: Investigation initiated

Indonesian pilots fell asleep during flight: Investigation initiated Photo: Both Indonesian pilots fell asleep during the flight ( by John Edmond)

Both Indonesian pilots fell asleep during the flight and were unresponsive to calls for almost 30 minutes, according to The Guardian.

The pilot and co-pilot simultaneously slept for approximately 28 minutes during a Batik Air flight from Southeast Sulawesi to the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta.

The incident led to a series of navigation errors, but the 153 passengers on the Airbus A320 and four flight attendants were unharmed during the two-hour and 35-minute flight.

The Director-General of Air Transportation, Maria Kristi Endah Murni, stated that the Ministry of Transportation is issuing a "strong reprimands" to Batik Air regarding the incident.

She urged the airline to pay more attention to crew rest time.

"We will carry out an investigation and review of the night flight operation in Indonesia related with fatigue risk management for Batik Air and all flight operators," Christi said.

Airline statement

Pilots involved in the incident on January 25 have been temporarily suspended from flight operations, according to a statement.

Batik Air stated that it "operates with adequate rest policy" and is "committed to implement all safety recommendations." The KNKT report, reviewed by the Agence France-Presse on Friday, was uploaded to the agency's website at the end of February.

According to the report, one of the pilots did not rest properly the night before the flight.

Approximately 90 minutes after takeoff, the captain requested permission from the co-pilot to take a short break, and the request was granted.

The co-pilot took command of the aircraft but unintentionally fell asleep as well.

"The second-in-command had one-month-old twin babies. His wife took care of the babies and he assisted while at home," the report stated.

A few minutes after the last recorded transmission from the co-pilot, the Jakarta control center attempted to contact the aircraft. There was no response.

Twenty-eight minutes after the last communication, the pilot woke up and realized that his co-pilot was sleeping, and the aircraft was not following the correct trajectory.

He immediately woke his colleague up, responded to calls from Jakarta, and corrected the flight path, as stated in the report.

After the incident, the aircraft landed safely. KNKT urged Batik Air to conduct regular cockpit checks and ensure that pilots and cabin crew get adequate rest before flights.