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Disaster averted as planes avoid each other in time

July 21, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

While descending to land at an airport in Mauritius, an Emirates A380 with hundreds of passengers aboard came close this week to colliding with an Air Seychelles A330 – prompting Air Seychelles to commend its two pilots for their decisive collision-avoidance action.

It’s the second major potential air incident to have been narrowly averted this month. An earlier one at San Francisco about 10 days ago could have been the worst aviation disaster in history. See: San Francisco airport catastrophe averted

In the latest incident, an Emirates’  Airbus A380-800 (flight EK703) was descending when an Air Seychelles Airbus A330-200, operating flight HN054 to Mahe Island, was preparing to climb, Gulf News reported.

At one point both aircraft were flying at similar altitude and were heading towards each other at very high speed.

The Mauritius Air Traffic Control had cleared the Air Seychelles flight for take-off and told it to climb to 37,000 feet. The Emirates plane was cleared to descend to 38,000 feet but its crew read back 36,000 feet, according to the Aviation Herald, and Air Traffic Control failed to pick up the discrepancy and correct it.

Over the Indian Ocean, the pilot of the Air Seychelles flight made a sharp right turn to dodge a possible collision, Gulf News reported.

Air Seychelles later issued a statement:

“We commend our Captain Roberto Vallicelli and Seychellois First Officer Ronny Morel who were operating the HM054 flight from Mauritius to Seychelles on the evening of Friday 14 July 2017.”

Emirates meanwhile told Gulf News in a statement: “Emirates has received reports of an event on 14th July 2017 in relation to aircraft separation involving flight EK-703 in Mauritius airspace.

“The matter has been reported to the respective air transport authorities and Emirates will extend its full cooperation to any investigation. The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance.”

Written by Peter Needham

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