Air traffic controller
A Chinese passenger plane was forced to delay its landing after the two air traffic controllers dozed off (representational image).Reuters file

A Chinese passenger plane was forced to delay its landing at the Wuhan airport, after the two air traffic controllers guiding it dozed off, according to reports.

China Eastern Airlines flight MU2528 kept flying over the airport until the traffic controllers woke up and finally gave the plane clearance for landing.

The incident, which happened on 8 July, was made public on 29 July, without mentioning the reason behind the delay.

However, it has now emerged the Boeing 737 had to delay its landing for around 12 minutes in the absence of any communication from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) room of the Wuhan airport.

"Because air traffic control was asleep on duty, (the plane) called many times," civil aviation authorities noted in a statement quoted by The Malaysia Insider. "But there was no reply, and no contact could be made with the control tower."

Netizens express fury over carelessness

"Air control work is truly exhausting, but it is unforgivable to sleep on duty. Hundreds of people's lives depend on the actions of flight tower controllers. We entrust our lives to you," a post on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, stated.

"Such serious consequences. Should let him sleep as much as he wants in prison."