Two planes that nearly collided in Sarasota, Florida, in February were both found to be cleared for their respective destinations, per an investigation. The news comes as the Federal Aviation Agency struggles with a slew of air travel “close calls” nationwide.
Last month, an Air Canada Rogue plane was taking off from a runway at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport when, at the same time, an American Airlines flight was landing on the same runway.
After an investigation, the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association announced Thursday that they found that both planes had missed each other by a mere 3,000 feet at their closest point, which the AP points out is “much farther apart” than other planes have found themselves in similar situations of late.
The American Airlines flight coming from Charlotte, North Carolina was cleared to land once it was around 10 miles from the airport but when it encroached at 3 miles out, the Air Canada flight headed toward Toronto was then cleared to take off.
No injuries were reported on either plane.
The American Airlines pilot abandoned the landing after seeing the plane taking off via a “self-initiated go-around.”
The investigation confirmed that an air traffic controller had also cleared the Air Canada plane for takeoff. The air traffic controllers that may have been involved that day are still being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The American Airlines crew self-initiated a go-around. No injuries or damage reported. A preliminary report expected in 2-3 weeks.
— NTSB Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) March 7, 2023
The incident follows a nail-biting close call at Boston’s Logan Airport at the end of last month when a JetBlue aircraft flight that originated in Nashville, Tennessee, was descending for landing but had to quickly divert after a Learjet aircraft started taking off (without clearance from air traffic control).
Neither American Airlines nor Air Canada Rogue have publicly commented on Thursday’s findings.