Plane drops 5,000 feet – where were the pilots?

Jet Airways plane suddenly falls somewhere above Ankara

Turkish air control authorities quickly alerted a plane flying over Ankara from India to Brussels when it suddenly dropped 5,000 feet. India’s aviation authorities are launching an investigation into the incident.

Jet Airways says it is cooperating with the investigation, while the pilots have been “taken off the roster pending inquiry”.

Reports said the pilot was taking “a nap as per rules”, but the co-pilot was “busy on her tablet”. As The Times of India puts it, “The co-pilot, who was supposed to hold fort in the cockpit, claims she was busy on her tablet and did not notice that the aircraft had lost altitude.”

The plane was directed back to its assigned height after the co-pilot got a call from an alarmed air traffic controller warning it about the drop. Authorities are reportedly investigating whether the co-pilot dozed off or accidentally pressed a button on her work tablet leading to the descent. They described the descent as “a serious incident”.

TTG Digital / Times of India / BBC

[pictured: Jet Airways aircraft at London Heathrow]

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