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Pilots of Boeing 737 fall asleep, miss landing

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The plane overflew the runway at cruising altitude (Credit: FlightRadar24)

Both pilots of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane fell asleep on approach to an airport in Ethiopia, causing them to overfly the runway before an alarm from the autopilot woke them up.

The incident happened earlier this week when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 343, a Boeing 737-800, was flying from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, according to a report from The Aviation Herald.

The Boeing 737 was flying at an altitude of 37,000 feet (11,277 meters) when the pilots fell asleep in the cockpit, causing the plane to approach Addis Ababa Boke International Airport without descending.

“[Air traffic control] tried to contact the crew numerous times without success,” The Aviation Herald reported. After overflying the runway at 37,000 feet, the autopilot disconnected, setting off an alarm that caused the pilots to wake up.

The plane returned to the airport and landed safely about 25 minutes later.

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