Pilot Falls Into Deep Sleep On SAS Flight

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The pilot of a Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) airplane flying from Copenhagen to Stockholm fell asleep at the controls, and was so deeply in slumber that the plane's co-pilot had trouble waking him up, according to an internal report.

Norwegian newspaper VG obtained the report on the incident that occured last year.

The co-pilot of the Boeing 737 had gone to the toilet, and when he tried to return to the locked cockpit he had to repeatedly ring the doorbell to rouse the sleeping captain, according to the report.

The full flight was on autopilot control for several minutes. When the pilot did wake up he was "temporarily disoriented."

The pilot explains in the report that he had only had four hours sleep the previous night. He was scheduled to do five short flights that day and fell asleep on the fourth trip.

"I just suddenly got extremely tired when we reached our desired altitude, and I had to fight to keep my eyes open," the pilot says in the report.

An SAS spokesman called the incident highly unusual. No disciplinary action was taken against the pilot.

In November, an official investigation blamed a sleepy pilot for a Boeing 737 crash in southern India that killed 158 people. The Air India jet crashed near Mangalore airport in May. Only eight onboard survived.

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