Report: Flight Controllers Nearly Caused Crash

The Israel Airports Authority releases report on near-crash at Ben Gurion, finds flight controller at fault.

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Maayana Miskin, | updated: 12:00

Israel news photo: file

The Israel Airports Authority released a report Monday on a near-crash at Ben Gurion International Airport last year. The report found airport controllers to be at fault in the incident .

The near-collision occurred in December 2009. An El Al plane, a Boeing 737 carrying 80 passengers, prepared for takeoff. At the same time, a Lufthansa plane, a Boeing 747-400 with 350 passengers, began descending toward the same runway.

Flight controllers ordered the Lufthansa plane to circle an additional time before landing. As the El Al plane took off, the two planes came dangerously close to each other. As the planes came within 200 meters of each other, a Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) in the El Al plane was activated, and the pilot managed to prevent a crash.

An initial investigation in December concluded that no serious breach of safety protocols had occurred. However, the report released Monday indicated that the near-crash did constitute a “safety incident,” and noted that the flight controllers involved in the incident had been reassigned.