Midair Crash Narrowly Averted

A US Airways jet and a small cargo plane came so close to a midair collision over Minneapolis the captain of the passenger plane said over the radio, "We just heard the guy go by."

The incident happened last week in early morning clouds after the two planes took off on parallel runways from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The US Airways Airbus 320 and the cargo plane flew within 50 to 100 feet of each other, barely avoiding disaster. At the time, they were over two busy highways near Minneapolis neighborhoods, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The passenger plane had 95 people onboard and was heading to Philadelphia, while the Beech 99 cargo plane was bound for La Crosse, Wis., the NTSB says. The cargo plane was operated by Bemidji Aviation Services, and had only one pilot aboard.

Both planes had been cleared for takeoff at 6:49 a.m. on Sept. 16.

After takeoff, the tower directed the US Airways plane to turn left and head west. The cargo plane was also supposed to turn but didn't.

The planes were about 1,500 feet above the highways, about a half mile from the airport, when they nearly collided. The avoidance system on the US Airways jet went off. The cargo plane did not have avoidance equipment, the NTSB says.

Photo, wbaiv, flickr
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