“TWO planes were allegedly forced to land at an American airport without control tower clearance because the air traffic controller was asleep.
Federal safety officials are investigating the incident, which occurred at Reagan National Airport in Washington.
An aviation official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the incident, said the single controller – a supervisor – was scheduled for duty in the tower at that time but had fallen asleep.
The Washington Post has also reported that controllers failed to react despite telephone calls from other towers in the area. They also failed to heed warnings piped in via a loudspeaker device called a ‘shout line.’
The two planes were carrying a combined 165 passengers, and made repeated attempts to raise controllers as they approached the airport. But when their radio messages were met with silence, both captains took matters into their own hands and opted to land without help.”