An Alaska near miss was almost a tragedy when a 737 and a cargo plane came close to colliding in mid-air.
The incident happened Tuesday over Fire Island, the National Transportation Safety board reported. Alaska Airlines Flight 135 was about to land at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 3:08 pm and was told by air traffic controllers to “go around” to avoid an Ace Air Cargo Beechcraft.
The Alaska Airlines plane, a Boeing 737, then veered to the right, but the cargo plane went in the same direction. The two aircraft ended up coming within a quarter mile of each other, so close that at least one of the pilots spotted the other plane in mid-air.
The NTSB is still investigating the incident, but the airlines involved are downplaying the Alaska near miss.
“There was no danger,” said Todd Erickson, Ace Air Cargo’s chief pilot. “Once Alaska Airlines radioed they had the 1900 in sight, our crew had no cause for concern.”
A spokeswoman for Alaska Airlines also noted that the 737 had a crash avoidance system that alerted pilots when they were getting too close to the other plane.
Alaska was the setting of another dramatic crash last year. After a small plane crashed in a remote part of the state, a 25-year-old mother was forced to leave behind her dead infant and trek a half-mile across a sloping tundra to the town landfill, where she guided a group of 40 to 50 villagers who were looking for the plane.
“The fact that she could make it out to an identifiable landmark really helped to expedite the aid that the rest of the patients were able to receive,” said Clifford Dalton, a paramedic for LifeMed Alaska. “What’s really remarkable about it is that she was tending to her infant child that was gravely injured at the time.”
This week’s Alaska near miss could have been just as tragic. The Alaska Airlines plane was carrying 143 passengers and five crew members.