3:26 am - Thursday November 12, 2015

India inquiry after Jet Airways plane drops 5,000 feet over Turkey

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India’s aviation watchdog is probing reports that a Jet Airways aircraft flying to Brussels suddenly dropped 5,000 feet over Ankara, alarming the Turkish air control authorities.

The civil aviation ministry said the pilots had been “taken off the roster pending inquiry”.

Jet Airways said it was co-operating with the investigation.

Reports said the pilot was taking “a nap as per rules”, and the co-pilot said she was “busy on her tablet”.

“The co-pilot, who was supposed to hold fort in the cockpit, claims she was busy on her tablet and did not notice that the aircraft had lost altitude,”

The plane was pulled back to its assigned height after the co-pilot received a call from the alarmed air traffic controller alerting it about the drop.

The paper added that the aviation authorities were investigating whether the co-pilot had dozed off or accidently pressed some button on her work tablet leading to the descent.

The aviation watchdog – the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) – said it viewed the descent as “a serious incident”.

The pilots have been questioned about the incident and a “detailed investigation” has been ordered into the incident, the DGCA said in a statement.

Jet Airways said it had also initiated an “internal inquiry” into the matter.

“Safety is of paramount importance to Jet Airways, as is also the welfare of our guests and crew and the airline will always take appropriate steps to ensure the same,” the airline said in a statement.

The incident took place last Friday on Jet Airway’s Mumbai-Brussels flight, reports said.

Jet Airways is India’s second largest airline and flies on both domestic and international routes.

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