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Ethiopian Airlines Pilots Fall Asleep Mid-Flight And Miss Runway

It’s believed that two pilots fell asleep and overshot their landing on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Khartoum, Sudan, to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia last week. 

Aviation Herald reports that air traffic control made several unsuccessful attempts to reach the crew. Instead of beginning its descent for landing, the aircraft maintained its cruising altitude of 37,000 feet.

Once the plane passed the runway, the autopilot was disconnected, and an alarm was triggered, waking up the pilots.

The Boeing 737-800 made a safe landing about 25 minutes later. The aircraft was grounded for about two and a half hours before it continued to its next destination. 

Ethiopian Airlines acknowledged the mishap in a statement released on Friday. According to the airline, the affected crew was removed from operation, and an investigation is pending.

“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,” the airline wrote. 

The incident comes amid growing concern about widespread pilot fatigue. 

“Pilot fatigue is nothing new and continues to pose one of the most significant threats to air safety – internationally,” aviation analyst Alex Macheras tweeted Thursday.

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