An Alaska Airlines passenger jet had a “near miss” with a smaller cargo aircraft above Anchorage's Fire Island.
The passenger plane from Portland, Oregon, which was carrying 143 passengers, was scheduled to land at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Runway 15, when the pilot was told by air controllers to do a “go-around” in order to avoid an Ace Air Cargo plane. The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation on the incident.
The aircrafts were said to be a quarter mile from each other, and were flying at the same elevation.
Clint Johnson, the NTSB spokesman, said that the planes were so close to each other, that one of the pilots could spot the other plane as it flew. The “go-around” was requested in order to give more space to both planes as they were nearing the same airport.
The Alaska Airlines jet was able to land safely on the runway. Reports say that the Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 jet has a collision avoidance system. It alerted the crew of the proximity of the other aircraft, and as a result, the pilots shifted to a higher altitude.
In a statement, Alaska Airlines said, “Our pilots are highly trained and skilled at responding to situations like this and are to be commended for their handling of the situation.” The company also said that they are working hand-in-hand with the NTSB on the investigation.
Data from the Anchorage control tower and the two aircrafts is being reviewed. According to Ace Air Cargo’s pilot Todd Erickson, they were aware of the situation and they were talking with the control tower all throughout.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were also two jetliners that came in close proximity at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston last week. The two were separated by less than a mile.
The FAA also reported that in 2012, the similar incidents happened 4,400 times, which averaged to 12 “near misses” a day.
Compilation of gut-wrenching aircraft near misses
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