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Plane forced to circle above airport 'because air traffic controllers fell asleep'

Long day? Long day.

File photo of a China Eastern Airlines plane
File photo of a China Eastern Airlines plane
Image: AP/Press Association Images

A CHINESE AIRCRAFT was forced to delay its landing after two air traffic controllers nodded off, reports said yesterday.

The Boeing 737 was arriving at Wuhan airport in central China and checked in with ground authorities – but had no response from the air traffic control tower for 12 minutes, reports said.

Both air traffic controllers had fallen asleep.

“Because air traffic control was asleep on duty, (the plane) called many times,” civil aviation authorities said in a statement quoted by Chinese business magazine Caijing.

“But there was no reply, and no contact could be made with the control tower.”

Contact was eventually made and China Eastern Airlines flight MU2528 from Sanya landed safely, according to the Sina.com news portal.

The incident happened on July 8 and the statement was dated July 29. There was no explanation for the delay in making it public.

“Air control work is truly exhausting, but it is unforgivable to sleep on duty,” a post on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, said yesterday.

- © AFP, 2014

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