Plane plunges 5000 ft as pilot naps

Last updated 10:00, August 15 2014

It’s true you shouldn’t drive tired, but napping and flying isn’t a good idea, either.

Authorities are investigating after a Jet Airways aircraft dropped more than 5000 feet (1500 metres) in airspace over Turkey while its pilot was asleep.

An aviation regulator is looking into whether the co-pilot was also dozing as the Boeing 777-300 travelled from Mumbai to Brussels last Friday, the Times of India reported

Apparently the pilot was taking a “controlled rest”, which means napping as allowed.

The co-pilot, who was supposed to be in charge during this time, claimed she was busy on her tablet and didn’t notice the aircraft had lost altitude.

The pair were unaware of the situation until they received an emergency call from an air traffic controller asking why the plane had moved from its assigned flight level of 34,000 feet (10,363m).

The change in altitude meant the 300-passenger jet was flying awry in busy airspace.

Following the flight, the crew then failed to report it to India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the Daily Mail reported. 

The regulator was only alerted when it received an anonymous text message about the uncontrolled descent.

The pilot and co-pilot have been suspended while the investigation is ongoing.

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Jet Airways has launched its own internal investigation to find out what happened.

 - © Fairfax NZ News