Probe Launched Into Averted Midair Jet Crash

The Swedish Accident Investigation Board will investigate an incident when two passenger jets nearly collided with each other over Östersund in central Sweden earlier this month.

The flight paths crossed each other and both planes were flying at 11,000 metres, posing an obvious collision risk with regard to speed. At one point, the two Boeings, a 737 operated by SAS and a 757 operated by Finnair, were flying less than 300 metres from each other.

The incident will now be investigated by the board in conjunction with aviation authority LFV, wrote newspaper Länstidningen in Östersund. Judging by the investigators’ preliminary comments, many details remain unclear about the incident, which could have ended in disaster.

“What I know at present is that the planes met at the same altitude and were not adequately separated,” said Carl-Erik Nilsson at LFV’s security department.

“One of them received direct orders to alter its altitude, but it was too late. Normally, planes are warned very early. Everything goes smoothly if one follows the instructions, but these measures do not seem to have been taken,” he added.

The Boeing 737 had about 130 passengers on board and the 757 around 280. The SAS plane was on its way to Oslo, while the Finnair flight was flying to Helsinki.

“This is unusual and very serious,” Martin Ohman, president of the Swedish Airline Pilots Association’s (Svensk Pilotföreningen) flight safety committee and himself a pilot, told the newspaper.

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