Ethiopia: Pilots flying at 37,000 feet fall asleep, miss landing
In a scary incident, two pilots of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET343 fell asleep while flying a flight from Sudan's Khartoum to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and missed their landing. According to Aviation Herald, the incident took place on Monday after which the Air Traffic Control (ATC) raised an alert when the plane approached the airport but did not start the descent.
According to reports, the Boeing 737's autopilot system kept the plane cruising at 37,000 feet while the pilots fell asleep. The ATC attempted to contact the pilots several times but was unsuccessful. The autopilot was turned off when the plane flew over the runway where it was supposed to land. According to Aviation Herald, this triggered an alarm, which woke up the pilots.
As per reports, no one was hurt in the incident and the plane landed safely after maneuvering the aircraft on the runway 25 minutes later. Data from the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), aviation surveillance system confirmed the incident, they said. It has posted an image of the aircraft's flight path, which shows an infinity-like loop near the Addis Ababa airport.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras termed the event as "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 as the plane traveled 38,000 feet above the ground. Later, the investigation was conducted by the aviation regulator, which confirmed the incident.
Deeply concerning incident at Africa’s largest airline — Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 #ET343 was still at cruising altitude of 37,000ft by the time it reached destination Addis Ababa— Alex Macheras (@AlexInAir) August 18, 2022
Why hadn’t it started to descend for landing? Both pilots were asleep. https://t.co/cPPMsVHIJD pic.twitter.com/RpnxsdtRBf