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Crash averted with minute to spare
CHENNAI: A mid-air collision between two flights over Tiruchi was averted at the last minute on Saturday when a Chennai-Madurai Air India flight and a Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Jet Airways flight came too close. There were 173 passengers on board the two flights.

Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) alarm went off in the cockpits of both the aircraft at 1.15pm while they were flying at 16,000 feet over Tiruchi. TCAS issued a ‘resolution advisory’ which means the flights were one minute away from colliding with one another. Air India IC 671 flight had 118 passengers and Jet Airways 9W 2758 flight had 55 passengers on board.

Sources said the AI flight was descending to land at Madurai airport while Jet Airways aircraft was on a course of ascent after taking off from Thiruvananthapuram airport. ‘‘Both the aircraft were given different routes, but somehow the flights came close when the AI flight was told to descend for landing at Madurai airport. The AI aircraft was supposed to descend on a different track. We are yet to pinpoint the error,’’ said a source.

Soon after the warning was sounded in the cockpits, the pilots corrected the course and averted a major accident. The air traffic was being controlled by Thiruvananthapuram air traffic control.

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