US Probes Near Collision Of Airliner, Small Plane

March 31, 2010

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US aviation safety investigators said on Tuesday they are looking into why a commercial jet and a small light plane came within about 300 feet of colliding over San Francisco on Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it launched the investigation after a United Airlines Boeing 777 en route to Beijing flew about 300 feet under an Aeronca 11AC shortly after takeoff from San Francisco airport.

The NTSB said in a statement the pilots of United Airlines flight 889, which was carrying 251 passengers and 17 crew, saw the light high-wing Aeronca shortly after the 777 had taken off and was retracting its landing gear.

The air traffic controller warned there was an aircraft nearby and the pilots of the United flight levelled out to avoid the small plane, the statement said.

After the near-miss, the 777 continued to Beijing without further incident, the NTSB said.

(Reuters)