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According to an official report released recently, a groggy Air Canada pilot mistook the planet Venus for an aircraft and sent his airliner diving toward the Atlantic Ocean below. The incident, which took place in January 2011, injured 16 of the passengers and crew. The official report stated the misidentification occurred on night on board a Boeing 767 traveling from Toronto to Zurich. Authorities say the pilot was disoriented after a nap and was told that a cargo plane was approaching directly in front of them and a thousand feet below. The First Officer saw the planet Venus and thought it was the other plane, which he thought was directly ahead and descending toward them. To avoid a collision, he put the plane into a sudden sharp dive. The plane dropped about 400 feet before the captain pulled back up on the controls and leveled the aircraft.

The report said seven passengers required hospital treatment following the incident. The airline expressed regret for the injuries and said it has taken steps to prevent a similar occurrence. The said regulations only permit 40-minute naps, but the pilot had been asleep for 75, which meant he fell into a deep sleep, and became disoriented when awakened. It noted that Air Canada only requires two pilots on trans-Atlantic flights while American carriers require three to share the load. The airline responded to the report saying new procedures would be in place soon. The official report warning about flight deck procedures saying, “Under the effects of significant sleep inertia (when performance and situational awareness are degraded immediately after waking up), the first officer perceived the oncoming traffic as being on a collision course and began a descent to avoid it.”

--Sleepy Air Canada pilot thought Venus was a plane, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/17/uk-canada-aircanada-incident-idUSLNE83G01820120417; April 17, 2012, Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell.

Romans 13:11-12 (GW) (11) You know the times {in which we are living}. It's time for you to wake up. Our salvation is nearer now than when we first became believers. (12) The night is almost over, and the day is near. So we should get rid of the things that belong to the dark and take up the weapons that belong to the light.

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