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Foto: Knut Fjeldstad / SCANPIX

Seconds from an aviation disaster

About 300 people were in mortal danger at Gardermoen when an ATC sent the morning plane from Bergen on a collision course with another plane.

It was only due to the quick decisions made by two SAS pilots that the disaster was prevented.

«We view this very seriously, but I want to praise the pilots onboard the plane,» said Siv Meisingseth, head of information at SAS, to TV 2 Nettavisen. «They were very alert and the disaster was avoided.»

300 people were in mortal danger when an air traffic controller gave the morning flight from Bergen clearance to land on the same runway he gave a plane to Copenhagen clearance to take off from.

Pilots reacted
Only the reaction of the pilots prevented an aviation catastrophe like the one at the Linate airport.

«It was definitely a dangerous situation,» Meisingseth said. «The pilots understood that something was not quite right, and they stopped before they arrived at the runway.»

It was the pilots on the plane to Copenhagen who got suspicious and stopped before they arrived on the runway. The near accident occurred last Monday and it was snowing heavily at the airport, according to the Norwegian paper VG.

Everyone can make mistakes
The ATC who was at work Monday has been suspended until further notice.

«Within aviation we deal with people and technical systems,» said Per Harald Pedersen at Avinor to the radio channel Kanal 24. «Everyone can make mistakes. It’s important that we get a complete overview before we conclude what has happened.»

Pedersen said to TV 2 Nettavisen that Avinor already the following day established a commission to look into the dramatic incident.

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