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Air traffic controllers filmed sleeping, texting on the job (VIDEO)

Air traffic controllers at Westchester County Airport in New York have been video taped apparently sleeping, reading and texting while on duty.

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An airport tower simulator awaits trainees on July 14, 2011 at the Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado. (John Moore/AFP/Getty Images)

Air traffic controllers at Westchester County Airport in New York have been video taped apparently sleeping, reading and texting while on duty.

The video was provided along with photos to Fox 5 by an unnamed employee at the White Plains airport, which according to the Wall Street Journal is 30 miles north of New York City and serves nearly 2 million passengers a year.

They appear to show up to 10 air traffic controllers sleeping in the control tower, reading books, playing with their cell phones or looking at their laptops -- as well as making wise cracks about letting their kids clear pilots for takeoff -- while they should have been at work.

"For many months the Westchester County Airport control tower has also doubled as a controllers' break room. And, sometimes it's hard to tell when the work ends and playtime, or even nap time, begins," said newscaster Dari Alexander.

According to the Gothamist, FAA rules stipulate that "cell phones must be in the off position while in the operation. Personal reading material and electronic devices are not permitted in operational areas."

The site quoted a spokesperson for the FAA as saying the air traffic controllers had been given permission to nap and use their phones in "a temporary break room" in the control tower because the elevator to the break room had been malfunctioning.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Westchester County executive Rob Astorino had asked the FAA to investigate, Fox reported.

In separate letters to the FAA, Gillibrand and Astorino questioned that explanation and demanded an investigation, the WSJ wrote, adding that the FAA said Friday it would take action as appropriate.

The anonymous air traffic controller who came forward with the footage told Fox 5. "I'm upset and extremely concerned with things taking place at Westchester tower."

FAA Asked To Investigate Controllers After Fox 5 Report: MyFoxNY.com

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120225/air-traffic-controllers-texting-video-camera-new-york-westchester-flights