Two pilots of a passenger airplane fell asleep mid flight- but miraculously landed their plane without anyone suffering injuries.
Flight ET343 was travelling from Khartoum to Addis Ababa on August 15 when the incident happened at 37,000 ft.
The pilots were meant to begin their descent to Addis Ababa Bole Airport.
According to the Aviation Herald, Air Traffic Control attempted to contact the pilots but were unsuccessful.
Finally, the crew awoke, after the aircraft’s autopilot disconnected and sounded an alarm.
The pilots managed to land the plane safely and it stayed on the tarmac for around two-and-a-half hours before it left for its next flight.
Data confirms the incident, which shows that the aircraft had overflown the runway and managed to make another approach when the pilots awoke.
The pilots managed to land the plane safely and it stayed on the tarmac for around two-and-a-half hours before it left for its next flight. Pictured: The flight route
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras wrote on Twitter: ‘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.
‘Why hadn’t it started to descend for landing? Both pilots were asleep.
He referred to ‘pilot fatigue’ which he described as ‘nothing new’.
Aviation analyst Alex Macheras wrote on Twitter that the incident was ‘deeply concerning’
The incident left people shocked, with many saying it was ‘unprofessional’ and ‘dangerous.’
One person wrote: ‘Hopefully both pilots got fired and the aviation authorities starting an investigation on the crew duty schedules etc of this airline! Thanks god that nothing bad happened.’
Another added: ‘this is unprofessional and dangerous’ while a third added: ‘mad.’
But not everyone agreed that the pilots should be fired, with one person arguing they could have been overworked and the company ‘covered it up.’
And a separate person was unsurprised by the incident, commenting: ‘Ex controller here, trust me when I tell you its happened here as well.’
There were mixed reactions to the incident online, with some shocked but one ex-controller was unsurprised
It comes after a separate incident which happened in April, reported by ABC 7 Eyewitness News, where two other pilots allegedly fell asleep.
They were on a flight from New York City to Rome with up to 250 passengers on board.
According to an investigation into the incident, both pilots of the ITA Airways flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport on April were sleeping during the journey.
They snoozed as the Airbus 330 flew over France, cruising at 38,000 feet.
Investigators discovered that one of the pilots was sleeping during his break but the captain had also fallen asleep.
And they added that air traffic controllers told them they lost contact with the plane for around 10 minutes.
As fears grew of a possible terror incident, air traffic control had begun to prepare fighter jets to intercept the plane.
However, the pilots eventually responded to air traffic control.
Speaking to ABC News, John Nance, an aviaition analyst, described the situation as ‘extremely dangerous.’
He added: ‘The plane can still fly on autopilot, but this is not smart or safe,’ he said.
In a statement ITA airways told the news channel that the captain had claimed radios stopped working but added that his behaviour was not ‘consistent with the rules dictated by the company.
Since, investigators ruled that there were inconsistencies between his account of events and what they found to have happened.
Despite the incident, the plane landed safely in Rome and the captain was fired.
Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement on Facebook: ‘We have received a report which indicates Ethiopian flight number ET343 en route from Khartoum to Addis Ababa temporarily lost communication with Addis Ababa Air Traffic Control on 15 August 2022.
‘The flight later landed safely after communication was restored. The concerned Crew have been removed from operation pending further investigation. Appropriate corrective action will be taken based on the outcome of the investigation. Safety has always been and will continue to be our first priority.’