September 26, 2013 / 6:52 PM / 5 years ago

Pilots fall asleep on long-haul flight to UK: paper

LONDON (Reuters) - Two pilots on a British airliner on a long haul flight fell asleep in the cockpit, leaving the packed jet travelling unsupervised on autopilot, Britain’s Sun newspaper reported on Thursday.

One of the pilots on board the Airbus 330 flight to Britain - the name of the airline was not disclosed - eventually woke up and roused his colleague, but neither knew how long they had been asleep, the paper said.

The flight took off on August 13 and the pilot and co-pilot took turns to have 20-minute rests but, after flying for more than an hour, they both dropped off.

They reported the incident themselves to Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), blaming longer shifts during the summer holiday period. The Sun said it had seen a copy of their report.

The CAA said it was legally prevented from disclosing any details about companies or individuals who filed Mandatory Occurrence Reports to them.

“Fatigue is a serious issue and needs careful oversight, which is why we welcome new EU proposals to give regulators greater powers to oversee airlines’ fatigue risk management systems and data,” a CAA spokesman said.

“The UK has an excellent safety record, but we are constantly striving to improve air safety.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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