An air traffic controller told authorities he fell asleep on his fourth consecutive night shift, forcing two passenger planes to land without his assistance.
The controller, who has 20 years’ experience, several of those at Ronald Reagan International airport where the incident occurred, has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. He was the only person on duty in the tower when the safety lapse occurred.
Pilots of both an American Airlines plane carrying 91 passengers and six crew members and a United Airline jet carrying 63 passengers and five crew members could not reach an air traffic controller at the airport. Both jets landed without incident.