On Monday, two pilots are said to have fallen asleep and missed landing on a flight from Sudan to Ethiopia.
The incident occurred on board an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 going from Khartoum to Addis Abeba. The plane is said to have kept descending after the pilots had fallen asleep. It had traveled at 37,000 feet on autopilot. Air traffic control seemingly tried multiple times to get in touch with the crew but were unsuccessful.
“The flight later landed safely after communication was restored. The concerned crew has been removed from operation pending further investigation,” Ethiopian Airlines noted in a statement.
They also said that “appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation.”
Luckily, the airplane woke the pilots up by sounding an alarm when it went past its intended target. The pilot was able to land the aircraft 25 minutes later than expected, without any incident.
Some aviation experts believe that the occurrence is a part of a bigger issue in the industry. They feel that pilot fatigue may be the problem. It is said to be one of the “most significant threats” to international air safety.