The long nap that almost killed everyone

Some panic in the Air Canada cockpit

When the first officer on an Air Canada Boeing 767 airplane woke up from his nap during a night flight, he thought the bright dot of the planet Venus was an aircraft.

The captain said no, the aircraft was straight ahead, and 1,000 feet below them.

Yet the first officer, disoriented from sleeping, thought the oncoming aircraft rushing towards them was really above and diving right towards them. He wanted to avoid what he thought would be a collision, so he pushed forward on the steering column.

The aircraft dropped 400 feet.

The captain quickly corrected the mistake.

The copilot had napped for 75 minutes rather than the permitted 40 minutes, which meant he slept too deeply, so when he woke he was befuddled by "sleep inertia."

Sixteen passengers and crew were injured.

Sleepy Air Canada pilot thought Venus was a plane, Reuters>>

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