An Air India flight soared past its Mumbai destination on June 4 as its pilots allegedly dozed off in the cockpit, The Times of India reported Thursday.
The napping pilots flew 359 miles past the airport and were still at cruising altitude when nervous air traffic controllers woke them up.
The flight, which was on autopilot flying toward Mumbai, had about 100 passengers on board.
"The plane took off from Dubai at 1:35 a.m. Indian Standard Time and then from Jaipur at 7 a.m. After operating an overnight flight, fatigue levels peak, and so the pilots dozed off after taking off from Jaipur," an unidentified source told The Times of India.
Air India officials vehemently denied the report, saying the plane lost radio contact with air traffic control for some time, and only flew 14 miles off course.
"We emphatically deny the report. No such incident took place. We've checked our records," Jitender Bhargava, Air India’s director for public relations, told The Times.
Some pilots and air traffic controllers argue Air India is trying to cover up for the pilots’ mistake.
"There is a strict procedure which is followed during a radio communications failure whereby the aircraft should have descended to a holding point. Instead, it flew over Mumbai," a check pilot told The Times of India. "Also, every flight has an expected time of arrival [ETA], so why did it not begin its descent even after crossing its ETA?"