Two British pilots have confessed to falling asleep at the wheel of an A330 during a long-haul flight.
The captain and his co-pilot had decided to take turns in having 20-minute naps during the journey aboard the packed 325-seat Airbus A330 passenger plane last month, the Telegraph reported.
However, less than two hours after take-off, both pilots were allegedly asleep, with the aircraft being steered by autopilot, with no-one to man the controls in case of an emergency.
The flight occurred on 13 August 2013, however, no further information on the airline, departure airport or destination has been revealed.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the pilots blamed longer shifts over the peak holiday season as the reason for the nap breaks.
“The pilots need to be alert… but the greatest danger is they wake up and do something as a knee-jerk reaction while still suffering sleep inertia,” Air safety expert David Learmount said.
The British Airline Pilots Association has warned that proposed changes to flying rules may lead to pilots working up to seven starts in a row and being awake for up to 22 hours in case of standby.