Sleeping pilot overflies Australian island destination

2018-11-27 17:13

A commercial pilot is under investigation after falling asleep in the cockpit of a freight plane and overflying his Australian island destination by 46km, officials said on Tuesday.

The pilot, who has not been identified, was the only person aboard the twin-propeller Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain and was flying on autopilot during the early morning flight on November 8 from Devonport city on Tasmania 250km northwest to King Island in Bass Strait, his employer, Vortex Air, said in a statement.

The pilot "unintentionally fell asleep while in command of the aircraft", the Melbourne-based airline said.

"The issue became apparent when air traffic control was unable to contact the pilot in-flight, and the aircraft travelled past the intended destination point while operating on autopilot," the statement said.

Air traffic control recordings showed several radio calls were made to the unresponsive pilot, The Australian newspaper reported.

The pilot landed safely on King Island, Vortex Air said.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, a crash and risk investigator, and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aviation industry regulator, are investigating the incident and the company's management of pilot fatigue.

The bureau confirmed that the plane had overflown the King Island Airport by 46km due to the pilot sleeping. It said it would interview the pilot and review Vortex Air's operational procedures before a report on the incident is made public.

Vortex Air said the 06:20 flight had been the first on the pilot's first day back at work after taking leave. He continued flying that day.

The newspaper said the pilot reported for duty despite having had little or no sleep the previous night due to a personal crisis.

"Vortex Air takes the safety of our passengers, crew and pilots extremely seriously and always abide by all safety procedures," the airline said.

"This is an extremely rare occurrence, as demonstrated by the company's excellent safety track record," it added.

The company said it was assisting the pilot to "safely return to full duties".

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Cluster Financial Manager

Cape Town
Network Finance
R950 000.00 - R1 000 000.00 Per Year

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.