Two commercial planes nearly crashed shortly after one took off from Portland International Airport during a storm — and video of the dramatic near miss was captured on flight tracking video.
Youtube Channel VAS Aviation shows the nerve-wracking moment between an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 and a SkyWest plane that had just launched from the runway in northwest Oregon on Monday around 4:14 p.m.
Shocking air traffic control audio shows the controller repeatedly urging the Alaska flight to change direction to avoid a collision with the SkyWest plane, his voice becoming increasingly panicky as the jets get closer.
The Alaska Airlines flight from Orange County, California, was traveling at more than 200 mph (320 km/h) when the landing was aborted after the second plane took off from a parallel runway in the north.
They came within 250 feet of each other — which is half the minimum distance of the 500-foot standoff, which the FAA defines as a “near mid-air collision.”
In the moments after the potentially near-fatal experience, the Alaska plane veered away from the SkyWest climb amid instructions from an air traffic controller. The incident is under investigation by the FAA.
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 had a nerve-wracking near miss with a SkyWest plane that had just launched from the runway in northwest Oregon around 4:15 p.m. Monday.
The Alaska Airlines flight from Orange County, California, aborted the landing after the second plane took off from a parallel runway in the north. (Pictured: A 2021 Alaska Airlines passenger flight)
Alaska Airlines confirmed the incident to local news media on Friday and said it is investigating the incident – and that its priority is the safety of passengers and employees.
“The crew of Flight 1299 followed cockpit instructions and responded immediately to increase the distance to the other aircraft,” a spokesperson said. Oregon Live.
“The aircraft maintained a safe degree of lateral clearance throughout the event.”
“At no time was the safety of the flight compromised,” SkyWest said in a separate statement to the newspaper on Friday.
It is unclear how many people were on each plane.
The incident occurred amid “tornadic activity” in Oregon, according to predictions at the time, with a storm warning looming over much of the state.
A FlightAware tracker shows that the Alaska Airlines 1299 flight departed from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana on Monday at 2 p.m.
After its close call with the plane taking off, it was diverted to Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon, and landed 26 minutes late.
The SkyWest 3978 aircraft left Portland International three minutes early and arrived in Seattle on schedule and as planned.
The Alaska plane was traveling at 210 miles per hour and the SkyWest plane had reached a speed of 186 miles per hour, according to Oregon Live. The FAA is investigating the incident.
A FlightAware tracker shows that the Alaska Airlines 1299 flight departed from John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana on Monday at 2 p.m. After its close call with the taking off plane, it was diverted to Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon, landing 26 minutes late
SkyWest 3978 left Portland International three minutes early and arrived in Seattle on time. The Alaska plane was traveling at 200 miles per hour and the SkyWest plane had reached a speed of 190 miles per hour, according to Oregon Live
“While attempting to land at Portland International Airport, the pilot of Alaska Airlines Flight 1299 initiated a go-around due to wind and turned toward SkyWest Airlines Flight 3978, which had just departed,” the FAA said in a statement.
“An air traffic controller instructed the Alaska Airlines pilot to turn away from the SkyWest aircraft. The incident occurred around 4:15 PM local time on Monday, October 16.
“The FAA will determine the closest proximity between the aircraft as part of the investigation.”
The incident follows a New York Times investigation that found these types of close calls are “much more common” than you might think.
According to the newspaper, there were at least 46 close calls involving commercial airlines in the U.S. through July.
This year, close calls involving commercial airlines occurred an average of several times a week, according to a Times analysis of internal FAA data.
Industry workers blame a shortage of air traffic controllers, forcing many in the profession to work mandatory overtime. The demands of the job have left some burned out and even turning to alcohol and sleeping pills to relieve stress.
According to the New York Times, as many as 99 percent of air traffic control facilities in the US are understaffed, showing that 310 of the 313 are not adequately staffed.
Some, including the regional office in New York and a tower in Philadelphia, are operating at about 60 percent of staff or less.
Although fatal incidents involving small, personal aircraft can occur several times a year, the last fatal crash involving a U.S. airline was in 2009, when Colgan Air Flight 3407 from Newark, New Jersey, to Buffalo, New York, crashed into a house in Clarence. Center, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground.