Two Pilots on Ethiopian Airlines Flight ‘Fall Asleep at 37,000 Feet’
Olivia Devereux-Evans, Daily Mail, August 18, 2022
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.
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.
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.’
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.’