Thursday, July 20, 2017

Emirates plane in 'near-miss' mid-air incident

An Air Seychelles pilot and his co-pilot have been commended for avoiding what would have been a fatal mid-air collision with an Emirates A380 plane last week, reports said.

Captain Roberto Vallicelli and First Officer Ronny Morel, who were flying an Air Seychelles Airbus A330 over Mauritius, made a sharp turn in order to dodge an Emirates Airbus A380 - the world's largest passenger jet - which was headed straight into his path, said the Mail Online report.

The Emirates plane was flying from Dubai to Mauritius last Friday, and had been cleared to make its descent by air traffic control. The Air Seychelles aircraft had just taken off from the airport in Mauritius and was heading toward Mahe Island, and straight into the path of the Emirates plane.

The Emirates Airbus A380-800 from Dubai to Mauritius, flying at 40,000 feet, was cleared to descend to 38,000 feet by air traffic control; the crew read it back as 36,000 feet, which was not corrected by air traffic control, according to an Aviation Herald report.

The Air Seychelles Airbus A330-200 flying from Mauritius to Mahe Island (Seychelles), had been cleared to climb to 37,000 ft and was climbing through 33,000 when the Emirates descended through 38,000.

Both crews could see each other when the traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) alert was initiated and the Air Seychelles turned right to avoid a collision.

Meanwhile, Emirates said in a separate statement shared to local media: “Emirates has received reports of an event on July 14, 2017 in relation to aircraft separation involving flight EK-703 in Mauritius airspace.

“The matter has been reported to the respective air transport authorities and Emirates will extend its full cooperation to any investigation. The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance.”

Air Seychelles said in a statement Monday: “We commend our Captain Roberto Vallicelli and Seychellois First Officer Ronny Morel who were operating the HM054 flight from Mauritius to Seychelles on the evening of Friday 14 July 2017.”  

“Their training standard and operating protocols immediately kicked in which demonstrates the extremely high standards of training which our Air Seychelles pilots attain.  We highly commend them for what they have done,” Air Seychelles added.

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