Indonesia’s Batik Air pilots fell asleep for almost 30 minutes mid-flight, investigation reveals

Second-in-command pilot ‘had to wake up several times’ to help wife take care of month-old twins, report says

Vishwam Sankaran
Monday 11 March 2024 07:42 GMT
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Two pilots flying an Indonesian plane carrying more than 150 passengers fell asleep mid-flight for almost 30 minutes, an investigation has revealed.

The pilot and co-pilot of a Batik Air flight travelling from South East Sulawesi to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on 25 January were asleep at the same time for about 28 minutes, according to a preliminary report by the country’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT).

While the incident led to several navigational errors as the aircraft “was not in the correct” path during the flight, which lasted two hours and 35 minutes, the report noted that its 153 passengers and four flight attendants were unharmed.

As per the report, the Airbus A320 flight’s second-in-command pilot had notified his co-pilot that he had not had a “proper rest” earlier in the day.

Once the plane took off and reached a cruising altitude, the in-command pilot asked for permission to rest and the second-in-command, who had already slept “for about 30 minutes”, took over the aircraft.

Then about 90 minutes into the flight, the second-in-command “inadvertently fell asleep”, the report noted.

The investigation report shows the points at which the pilots are believed to have been asleep (KNKT)

When the Jakarta area control centre (ACC) tried to reach the aircraft about 12 minutes after the last recorded transmission by the co-pilot, there was no reply from either of the pilots.

“Several attempts to contact BTK6723 had been made by the Jakarta ACC including asking other pilots to call the BTK6723. None of the calls were responded to by the BTK6723 pilots,” the investigation report said.

About 28 minutes after the last recorded transmission, the in-command pilot woke up to realise the plane was not on the correct path.

The investigation report did not name the pilots but identified the in-command flyer as a 32-year-old Indonesian male and the second-in-command as a 28-year-old Indonesian male.

According to the report, the second-in-command “had to wake up several times” to help his wife take care of their one-month-old twins.

“No one was injured in this occurrence and there was no damage to the aircraft,” the report noted.

Indonesia’s air transport director general, Maria Kristi Endah Murni, “strongly” reprimanded Batik Air over the incident and called on airlines to pay attention to the rest time of their crew, AFP reported.

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