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Controller error sends plane from LAX in wrong direction

21 December 2016
Controller error sends plane from LAX in wrong direction

The incident happened on Friday morning, as an EVA Airways jetliner departed the airport and switched to air traffic control in San Diego.

An air traffic controller gave a pilot the wrong directions during a rain storm, sending a jumbo jet into the path of another plane moments after it took off from Los Angeles International Airport.

An air traffic controller apparently directed the airplane into the flight path of another airplane as it flew low over mountains near the San Gabriel Valley, according to an ABC7 Eyewitness News report.

That sent the airliner toward the mountains above Altadena and the flight path of an Air Canada plane that had just taken off, according to the report.

What she meant, however, was for the pilot to make a right turn, Gregor said. The pilot followed the controller's directions and turned left, a move which sent the plane in the wrong direction, Gregor said.

When the controller realized her mistake, she "took immediate action to keep EVA safely separated" from the second aircraft, and issued the EVA pilot a series of instructions to help him turn south, Gregor said.

The air-traffic controller repeated demands to "stop your climb" and "turn south", at one point even saying: 'EVA 015 Heavy, what are you doing?' "The controller wanted to make sure the EVA aircraft was safely above or away from nearby terrain".

The Federal Aviation Administration had launched an investigation into the incident, ABC7 reported, adding that the EVA jet was never less than the required minimum three miles away from the Air Canada flight, though it has to be seen whether it was still the minimum 2,000 feet above the mountains.

Gregor said that the FAA is also looking into how high the aircraft was flying above the ground northeast of the airport.

On Altadena resident told abc7 when they heard the low flying plane they were very anxious.