June 23, 2024

Two planes nearly collided with each other on a runway at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai after one flight landed while the other one was still rolling down the runway on June 8. In a real shocker, the Air Traffic Control officer responsible has been derostered by officials.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, IndiGo flight 5053 – arriving from Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport – landed on runway 27 just as Air India flight 657 was rolling down the tarmac, headed for Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, according to The Hindu. Both planes involved in the incident happened to be Airbus A320neos. As you may have imagined, incidents like this are generally frowned upon since they can end in a big fiery crash with lots of deaths. Not good.

From the video, it looks as if the Air India flight was accelerating down runway 27 just as the IndiGo flight descended toward the ground. As the two planes get a bit closer, the Air India flight gets airborne. Right now, it’s hard to tell if the pilots knew there was another aircraft right behind them.

The Air India flight began its take-off roll at 00:45:05 UTC when the IndiGo flight was approximately 5,700 feet away. At 00:45:27, the IndiGo plane entered the runway area as the Air India plane accelerated through 90 knots ground speed. At their closest point at 00:45:36, the two flights were just 1,671 feet apart, according to FlightRadar24. However, the Air India flight was on the ground, and the IndiGo plane was still airborne.

Then, at 00:45:39, Air India began its rotation while the two planes were just 1,679 feet apart. Three seconds later, the IndiGo jet touched down.

Now, an investigation by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (India’s FAA) is underway into exactly how this near disaster happened. The Air Traffic Control Guild of India also weighed in, giving a statement to The Hindu:

“Mumbai and Delhi airports are high-intensity airports, operating around 46 flights per hour. ATCOs are responsible for maintaining the safe and secure arrival and departure of planes and passengers. In the viral video, the visibility appears to be quite good. If there is reasonable assurance through visual observation, the traffic separation minima can be reduced. In this incident, it appeared that the departing aircraft had already reached B2 speed and was nose-up while the arriving aircraft was touching down on Runway 27. The matter is under investigation,” said Alok Yadav, General Secretary of the ATC Guild India.

IndiGo also released a statement to The Hindu:

“On Jun 8, IndiGo flight 6E 6053 from Indore was given landing clearance by ATC at Mumbai Airport. The Pilot in Command continued the approach and landing and followed ATC instructions.

At IndiGo, passenger safety is paramount to us, and we have reported the incident as per procedure.”

I’m no airplane expert, but I feel this is probably not the sort of situation you want to run into when on a plane.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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