Batik Air flight veered off track after both pilots fell asleep mid air


A representational image of a Batik Air flight. — AFP/File
A representational image of a Batik Air flight. — AFP/File

A Batik Air aeroplane carrying 159 people veered off track after its pilot and co-pilot fell asleep mid-air, the New York Post reported.

The Batik Air flight BTK6723, was on a two-hour 35-minute journey from the Island of South East Sulawesi to Jakarta when the pilots fell asleep.

According to a report by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, the 32-year-old sleep-deprived pilot who had recently become a father to twins had asked his co-pilot, 28, if he could sleep after reaching a cruising altitude.

Upon getting approval from his second in command he dozed off for an hour, waking up briefly to ask if the younger pilot wanted to rest. 

After the young co-pilot declined his offer, he fell asleep again, only to wake up 28 minutes later to find the co-pilot sleeping and that “the aircraft was not on the correct flight path.”

The captain successfully managed to get the plane back on its right path, landing at the scheduled time at the Jakarta airport.

As per the report, Jakarta’s air control centre had tried to contact several times but was not able to get through.

None of the passengers on board suffered any injuries.

As a result, both the pilots have been “temporarily suspended” and the government and Indonesia’s Transport Ministry have announced to carry out an investigation.

A European Cockpit Association survey has found that out of 6,893 pilots questioned, 68% have admitted to falling asleep at least once in the middle of the air.

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