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Air traffic controllers napping? Jets abort as weary controllers catch some z's

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Air traffic controllers napping in a Chinese tower forced at least one passenger plane, that had already started its descent, to abort the landing and climb back in the air for another pass. Multiple calls from the pilots to the air controllers went unheeded, because the two individuals tasked with the safety of incoming and outgoing planes were reportedly fast asleep.

Reuters news service, via MSN, reports: “A China Eastern Airlines Corp passenger plane that had started its night-time descent into a Wuhan airport was forced to abort its landing after air traffic controllers had dozed off, an investigation report found. The incident, which took place on July 8, is the third mishap in two months involving the Chinese carrier.”

In-all, a 12-minute go-around was needed, and the second time through the controllers had awakened from their power nap and were able to bring the jet in safely. The incident occurred between 2 and 3 a.m., and the internal investigation was not meant to go public, but was leaked by someone close to the investigation, reports China’s

China Airlines has been taking hits recently for poor landings. Writes the Reuters report:

China Eastern has suffered other mishaps in recent weeks. On July 17, a China Eastern airplane landed off the runway in the southwest city of Nanning.

Three days later, another China Eastern plane veered off the runway shortly after it touched down at Changzhi airport in Shanxi province amid heavy rain, causing a temporary closure of the airport. No casualties were involved in either incidents.

Just last week, a Jet Airways passenger plane, operated out of India, took a plunge without warning, putting the unsuspecting passengers at risk. The unexplained nosedive over Turkey occurred when one pilot was napping and the other was on a tablet. The jet dropped 5,000 feet and tower officials had to radio the pilots to alert them about their descent.