April 17, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Pilots fall asleep during a Batek flight in Indonesia and veer off course

Two pilots of a plane carrying 157 others People fell asleep mid-flight, causing the plane to veer off its intended route, according to a preliminary report issued by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee.

The two pilots were flying a Batek flight when they both fell asleep at the same time for approximately 28 minutes. The report said. The plane, which was carrying 153 passengers and four crew members, had left the island of Southeast Sulawesi and was on its way to Jakarta on January 25, a flight that took two hours and 35 minutes.

The report did not identify the pilots, but merely described the pilot flying the plane as a 32-year-old Indonesian and the second in command as a 28-year-old Indonesian. Both were deemed fit to fly, the report said, after they passed medical examinations and showed negative alcohol tests.

When the flight reached an altitude of 36,000 feet, about 30 minutes after departure, the pilot in charge asked his deputy for permission to rest, which was granted. The pilot in charge fell asleep and woke up a little less than an hour later.

The pilot then asked his colleague in the cockpit if he wanted to sleep, but the second in command refused, according to the report, so the first pilot continued to sleep while his deputy remained in control of the plane.

The report said that after contacting the control center in the Jakarta area, the second pilot “unintentionally fell asleep,” noting that when the control center later tried to contact the pilots, it did not receive any response.

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“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 said that 28 minutes after the last recorded transmission from the second pilot, the first pilot woke up “and was aware that the plane was not on the correct flight path.” The report stated that the pilot put the flight back on track, and the plane landed in Jakarta.

The report stated that the passengers and employees on board were unharmed, and that no damage was caused to the plane.

According to the report, the second pilot was caring for his one-month-old twins at home, had difficulty sleeping and changed his residence the day before the flight.

Maria Christie Indah Murni, director of Indonesia's civil aviation, said the transport ministry “strongly reprimands” Batik Air over the incident. French Information Agency.

“We will conduct an investigation and review of the night flight operation in Indonesia regarding fatigue risk management for Batik Air and all flight operators,” she said in a statement.

Agence France-Presse reported, citing a statement from Batek Airlines, that the two pilots were “temporarily suspended.” Batik Air did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Worldwide, the aviation industry has long struggled with the problem of burnout among employees, especially pilots and cabin crew.

a reconnaissance The July study of 6,893 pilots in Europe by aviation safety consulting firm the European Cockpit Association found that 3 in 4 pilots had fallen asleep at the wheel in the month before the survey.

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In 2022, Wizz Air's managing director faced a backlash from unions and pilot representatives after he urged overworked staff to go the extra mile amid shortages, according to Sky News. mentioned.

In August, The Washington Post reported that US federal authorities investigated nearly 5,000 pilots suspected of falsifying their medical records to hide that they were receiving benefits for mental health disorders and other serious conditions that could disqualify them as unfit to fly.

5,000 pilots suspected of hiding major health problems. Most of them are still flying.