- The two planes nearly collided over an airport in Oregon at around 4:15 pm on Monday
- They came within 250 feet of each other amid “tornado activity” across the state
- The Alaska plane was hurtling at 214 miles per hour and aborted its landing to avoid an accident
Two commercial planes nearly crashed shortly after one took off from Portland International Airport during a storm — and a video of the near-miss was captured on flight tracking video.
YouTube channel VASaviation The film shows an exciting moment between an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 and a SkyWest plane that had just lifted off the runway in northwest Oregon around 4:14 p.m. on Monday.
Shocking air traffic control audio shows the controller repeatedly urging the Alaska flight to change direction to avoid colliding with the SkyWest plane, his voice becoming more panicked as the planes approach.
The Alaska Airlines flight from Orange County, California, was traveling at more than 200 miles per hour when it aborted the landing after the second plane took off from a parallel airstrip to the north.
They came within 250 feet of colliding with each other, half the minimum distance of 500 feet, which the Federal Aviation Administration defines as constituting a “near midair collision.”
In the moments following the near-fatal experience, the Alaska plane veered away from SkyWest’s climb amid instructions from an air traffic controller. The accident is the subject of an investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Alaska Airlines confirmed the incident to local media on Friday, saying it was reviewing the incident — and its priority was the safety of passengers and employees.
A spokesman for the Flight 1299 crew said: “The Flight 1299 crew followed cockpit instructions and responded immediately to increased separation from the other aircraft.” Oregon Live.
“The aircraft maintained a safe amount of lateral separation throughout the entire event.”
“At no time was the safety of the flight compromised,” SkyWest said in a separate statement to the newspaper on Friday.
It is unclear how many people were on each plane.
The accident occurred amid “tornado activity” in Oregon, according to Sky News. Forecasting At that time, there was a stormy weather warning for most of the state.
The FlightAware tracker shows Alaska Airlines Flight 1299 departed John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana at 2 p.m. Monday.
After making close contact with the ascending plane, it was diverted to Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon, and landed 26 minutes late.
SkyWest Flight 3978 departed Portland International Airport three minutes early and arrived in Seattle on time and as planned.
The Alaska plane was hurtling at 214 mph, and the SkyWest plane reached speeds of 190 mph, according to Oregon Live. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident.
“While attempting to land at Portland International Airport, the pilot of Alaska Airlines Flight 1299 began to spin due to the wind and headed toward SkyWest Flight 3978, which had just departed,” the FAA said in a statement.
“The air traffic controller instructed the Alaska Airlines pilot to move away from the SkyWest plane.” The incident occurred around 4:15pm local time on Monday, October 16.
“The FAA will determine the closest distance between the two planes as part of the investigation.”
This incident comes on the heels of a New York Times investigation that showed close calls like this happen “more often” than you might think.
According to the newspaper, there were at least 46 close calls involving commercial airlines in the United States during the month of July.
This year, close calls involving commercial airlines occurred, on average, several times a week, according to a Times analysis of internal FAA records.
Industry workers have blamed a shortage of air traffic controllers, forcing many in the profession into mandatory overtime. The demands of the job left some exhausted, and they even used alcohol and sleeping pills to relieve stress.
99% of air traffic control facilities in the United States are understaffed, according to The New York Times, which found that 310 out of 313 do not have enough workers.
Some, including the regional facility in New York and the Philadelphia tower, are operating at about 60 percent staff or less.
While fatal accidents involving small personal aircraft can happen several times a year, the last fatal accident for a U.S. airline was in 2009, when Colgan Airlines Flight 3407 from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York, crashed into a house in Clarence. New York City Center, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground.
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