Planes narrowly avoid collision above Portland Airport amid storm
Terrifying mid-air near miss saw Alaska jet come within 250 feet of colliding with Skywest plane above Portland Airport, with air traffic controller heard urging plane to move
- The planes almost collided above an Oregon airport around 4.15pm Monday
- They came within 250 feet of each other amid ‘tornadic activity’ across the state
- Hurtling along at 214mph, the Alaska plane aborted its landing to avoid a crash
Two commercial planes almost crashed shortly after one took off from Portland International Airport during a storm – and video of the dramatic near-miss has been caught on flight tracking video.
YouTube channel VASAviation shows the nail-biting moment between an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 and a SkyWest plane that had just launched from the runway in northwest Oregon around 4.14pm Monday.
Shocking air traffic control audio shows the controller repeatedly urging the Alaska flight to change its heading to avoid colliding with the SkyWest plane, his voice becoming more panicked as the jets get closer.
The Alaska Airlines flight from Orange County, California, was traveling at more than 200mph when it aborted landing after the second aircraft lifted off a parallel airstrip to the north.
They came within 250 feet of slamming into each other – which is half the minimum distance of the 500-foot proximity, which the FAA’s defines as constituting a ‘near midair collision’.
In the moments after the potentially near-fatal experience, the Alaska plane veered away from the SkyWest ascent amid instructions from an air traffic controller. The incident is subject to a probe by the FAA.
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 experienced a nail-biting near-miss with a SkyWest plane which had just launched from the runway in north west Oregon around 4.15pm Monday.
The Alaska Airlines flight from Orange County, California, aborted its landing after the second aircraft lifted off a parallel airstrip to the north. (Pictured: an Alaska Airlines passenger flight in 2021)
Alaska Airlines confirmed the incident to local news outlets on Friday, saying that it is reviewing the incident – and its priority is the safety of passengers and employees.
‘The crew of Flight 1299 followed cockpit indications and reacted immediately to increase separation from the other aircraft,’ a spokesperson told Oregon Live.
‘The aircraft maintained a safe amount of lateral separation throughout the entire event.’
‘At no point was the safety of the flight compromised,’ SkyWest said in a separate statement to the newspaper on Friday.
Its unclear how many people were on each plane.
The incident happened amid ‘tornadic activity’ in Oregon, according to forecasts at the time, with a stormy weather warning lurking over much of the state.
A FlightAware tracker shows the Alaska Airlines 1299 flight departed from John Wayne airport in Santa Ana at 2pm on Monday.
After its close call with the ascending aircraft, it was diverted to Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon, and landed 26 minutes late.
The SkyWest 3978 aircraft left Portland International three minutes early and arrived in Seattle on schedule and as planned.
The Alaska plane was hurtling along at 214mph, and the SkyWest airliner had reached a speed of 190mph, per Oregon Live. The FAA is investigating the incident.
A FlightAware tracker shows the Alaska Airlines 1299 flight departed from John Wayne airport in Santa Ana at 2pm on Monday. After its close call with the ascending aircraft, it was diverted to Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon, and landed 26 minutes late
The SkyWest 3978 left Portland International three minutes early and arrived in Seattle on schedule. The Alaska plane was hurtling along at 214mph, and the SkyWest airliner had reached a speed of 190mph, per Oregon Live
‘While attempting to land at Portland International Airport, the pilot of Alaska Airlines Flight 1299 initiated a go-around due to wind and turned towards SkyWest Airlines Flight 3978, which had just departed,’ the FAA said in a statement.
‘An air traffic controller instructed the Alaska Airlines pilot to turn away from the SkyWest aircraft. The incident occurred around 4:15 p.m. local time on Monday, Oct. 16.
‘The FAA will determine the closest proximity between the aircraft as part of the investigation.’
The incident follows a New York Times investigation that showed close calls like this happen ‘far more often’ than you might think.
Per the newspaper, there were at least 46 close calls involving commercial airlines in the US through July.
This year, close calls involving commercial airlines have been happening, on average, multiple times a week, according to a Times’ analysis of internal FAA records.
Industry workers have blamed a shortage of air traffic controllers which has forced many in the profession to work mandatory overtime. The demands of the job have left some burned out and even using alcohol and sleeping pills to relieve stress.
A shocking 99 percent of air traffic control facilities in the US are understaffed, according to the New York Times, which found 310 out of 313 do not have enough workers.
Some, including New York’s regional facility and a Philadelphia tower, are operating at around 60 percent of staff or less.
While fatal incidents involving small, personal aircraft can occur several times per year, the last fatal crash involving a US airline was in 2009, when Colgan Air Flight 3407 from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York, crashed into a house in Clarence Center, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground.
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