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Pilots snoozed at 30,000 feet in cockpit of 300-passenger plane


Published on Sep 30, 2013

(CNN) -- Cruising at 30,000 feet, pilots snoozed in the cockpit of a 300-passenger airliner en route to Britain last August, UK aviation authorities told CNN on Thursday.

A spokesman for the UK's Civil Aviation Authority tells CNN that the Airbus A330 incident occurred while the aircraft was operating on autopilot on a long-distance flight. The CAA wouldn't reveal any other details of the flight, its route or its destination airport.

Sources told CNN's Richard Quest the airline is Virgin Atlantic. The airline in a statement said, "Virgin Atlantic can confirm no safety reports have been received about pilots falling asleep simultaneously whilst in control of an aircraft."

British pilots are allowed to sleep while in the cockpit under certain circumstances.

The August 13 incident appears to be the result of bad scheduling by the airline, said the CAA spokesman Richard Taylor. The pilots reported having only five hours of sleep over two nights "due to longer duty period with insufficient opportunity to sleep," the CAA report states. "Both crew rested for 20 minute rotations and fell asleep."

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