Inside Story: Report Describes Near Disaster Over Nashville
From Phil Williams:
Nashville International Airport just ran emergency responders through a disaster drill -- in case the worst ever happens.
But few people know The Inside Story about how close the city may have come to a major air tragedy a few years ago.
This is one of those stories that's sat in my files for a long time.
Even though I've asked over and over, investigators have long insisted they don't know anything about it.
But it could have been an unspeakable tragedy.
This week, emergency responders practiced for a crash landing on one of Nashville's runways. There, with a quick response, you've actually got a chance to save lives.
Still, this would have been very different.
According to an anonymous report filed by one pilot with NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System, two airliners came dangerously close to a high-speed, mid-air collision in the skies high over Nashville.
The pilot says, that in October 2005, he was flying a DC-9 at 33,000 feet over the city when he spotted an approaching airliner.
"It appeared he was near our altitude and coming at us," the pilot wrote.
As the second plane descended straight toward the DC-9, the report says air traffic controllers hollered at the approaching aircraft that he was at the wrong altitude.
Then, the DC-9's crew got a warning from its collision-avoidance computers to execute an immediate climb.
"I performed the avoidance maneuver and, as best I could tell, we missed him by no more than 100 to 200 feet," the pilot wrote.
Think about that: 100 feet apart -- while traveling hundreds of miles an hour.
The only thing more frightening is that the Federal Aviation Administration says it has no evidence that the close call was ever reported or ever investigated.