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Indonesian Plane Misses Directions as Pilots Fall Asleep Mid-Air

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By Erika John - - 5 Mins Read
Tied pilot yawning in the cockpit
Photo | Shutterstock

Two Indonesian Batik Air pilots are accused of sleeping during a flight from Halu Oleo Airport to Soekarno Airport.

It has been reported that two Indonesian pilots were found sleeping simultaneously during a 3-hour flight.

While this is not the first time such an incident has occurred, it has sparked concern among the public due to the fact that the plane deviated from its planned route, missed its intended direction, and ultimately landed at a completely different destination.

The two pilots, whose identities have not been revealed, had recently completed a flight in the opposite direction from Jakarta to Kendari.

They then proceeded to take another flight from the Kendari HaluOleo Airport to the Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

On January 25th, a flight with over 150 passengers and four flight attendants took off.

Less than an hour into the flight, the lead pilot, who was 32 years old, told the co-pilot that he needed to rest and asked him to take charge of the aircraft.

The co-pilot agreed, and the lead pilot took a short nap. When he woke up, the lead pilot asked the co-pilot, who was 28 years old, if he wanted to take a nap, but he declined. The lead pilot then went back to sleep.


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Batik airplane ready for takeoff | Kristina Ismulyani / Shutterstock


A few minutes into the flight, the pilot requested the aircraft traffic control to alter the flight path to avoid the bad weather.

However, the co-pilot fell asleep even after the request was made, resulting in the flight veering off course and losing its direction.

Jakarta air traffic control attempted to communicate with the cockpit after the last transmission, but neither of the pilots responded.

According to air traffic control, the silence continued for almost 30 minutes before the lead pilot woke up.

He discovered that his co-pilot was already asleep and the flight was on the wrong path. He woke up his co-pilot, responded to Jakarta air control, and landed the plane safely.

According to Batik Airways, both pilots were tested and cleared of heart rate and blood pressure to ensure they were medically fit to fly before the journey; the alcohol check was also negative.

The co-pilot, who was also a father to newborn twins, admitted that the quality of his sleep had degraded from the wake-up cries of the babies, which made him doze off during the flight.

He also moved home and relocated with his family a few days before the flight. The flight landed safely in Jakarta without any injury record, and the plane was not damaged.


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Earlier in 2019, the same airline had an emergency landing after one of the pilots fainted during the flight.

This is why aviation regulations require a minimum of two pilots at every commercial airline's cockpit.