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Martin Rickett/PA

US air traffic controller caught watching DVD on the job

The air traffic controller in question accidentally broadcast the Samuel L Jackson film he was watching over his microphone, blocking incoming calls from planes.

A US AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER based in Ohio has been suspended after accidentally broadcasting the 2007 Samuel L Jackson film, Cleaner, over his microphone while he was supposed to be working.

Planes were unable to make contact with the radar centre for over three minutes until an Air Force jet used a special military radio frequency to get in touch with the controller.

The pilots were, however, able to listen to the controller’s DVD.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it had suspended the controller and one of the regional radar centre’s managers.

In a statement issued yesterday, the agency said: “FAA policy prohibits the use of portable DVD players and other devices from being used on the floor of the radar room.”

This DVD controversy is the latest in a line of embarrassing revelations about the work practices of US air traffic controllers. The organisation has suspended nine controllers and supervisors since late March and in five of those cases, the controllers fell asleep on the job. The head of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organisation resigned last week in response to those cases.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has said earlier yesterday that he was infuriated controllers had been caught sleeping at work and said it was a concern no one stepping onto a plane should ever have to consider.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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