>New Delhi, India: An AIR India flight headed for Mumbai overshot its destination and was halfway to Goa before its dozing pilots were woken out of a deep slumber by air traffic control, a report said.
The high altitude nap took place about two weeks ago, the Times of India newspaper reported yesterday.
Some 100 passengers were on board the state-run flight that originated from Dubai and flew to the western Indian city of Jaipur before heading south to Mumbai when both pilots fell asleep, a source told the paper.
"After operating an overnight flight, fatigue levels peak - and so the pilots dozed off after taking off from Jaipur," the source, who was not identified, said.
The plane flew to Mumbai on autopilot, but when air traffic there tried to help the aircraft land, the plane ignored their instructions and carried on at full speed towards Goa.
"It was only after the aircraft reached Mumbai airspace that air traffic control realised it was not responding to any instructions and was carrying on its own course," the source said.
"The aircraft should have begun its descent about 100 miles (160km) from Mumbai, but here it was still at cruising altitude. We checked for hijack."
Finally, air traffic control buzzed the cockpit and woke up the pilots, who turned the plane around, the report said When contacted by the newspaper, Air India said it was gathering information on the incident.
The manager of Mumbai's airport insisted the aircraft had suffered a "communications failure" and that no napping had taken place.
But sources told the daily that the authorities were trying to hush up the matter.
Indian papers reported this week that a flight operated by private airline Jetlite to the central Indian city of Patna was grounded after the pilot was found to be drunk.