Indonesian flight veered off course after both pilots allegedly fell asleep in the cockpit


A Batik Air Indonesia pilot and his second-in-command are accused of allowing the flight they were operating to veer off course as they both took a snooze in the cockpit mid-flight, Indonesian officials said in a report.

The Jan. 25 flight, BTK6723, was carrying 153 passengers en route from Halu Oleo Airport in Kendari to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, according to a report from Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee.

Both pilots, whose names were not included in the report, had just completed a trip in the opposite direction, from Jakarta to Kendari, before making the return, which is when they both fell asleep, the report said.

Once the return flight to Jakarta took off and the plane reached a cruising altitude of 36,000 feet, the 32-year-old pilot asked permission to take a rest, according to the report. After the pilot’s nap, the pilot asked the 28-year-old second-in-command if he wanted to rest, but the co-pilot said he did not want to.

After a quick chat, the pilot went back to sleep, leaving the second- in-command in control of the aircraft, according to the report.

While the pilot slept, the co-pilot requested to change the flight path in order to dodge bad weather, the report said, and was instructed to check in with flight control when they were in the clear.

But then the co-pilot accidentally fell asleep, the report said.

The pilot woke up to find “that the aircraft was not in the correct flight path,” according to the report. The pilot saw the co-pilot was asleep and woke him.

The flight then continued on course and landed safely in Jakarta, the report said. No one was injured and the aircraft sustained no damage.

The report did not mention whether either of the pilots faced disciplinary action as a result of their conduct.

Batik Air did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the incident.

Both pilots were cleared to fly prior to the Jan. 25 flight after blood pressure and heart rate exams were considered normal and alcohol tests came back negative, the report said.

The co-pilot though, had a busy few days off before the flight, according to the report. Not only was he a father to one-month-old twins, but he moved homes in the days prior to the flight.

He admitted to investigators “that his sleep quality had degraded by the several wakes up,” from the babies on the night before the flight.


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