MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Too close for comfort is putting it lightly.
“We took off and then a matter of seconds after taking off, the plane went to the dive.”
LeAnn Cary remembers that day in April vividly. She couldn’t see the other plane coming, but knew something was wrong.
“It felt like a roller coaster, a bad roller coaster ride. Except in the back of your mind, you know there’s no roller coaster, and you’re actually hundreds of feet up in the air.”
The other plane was coming in to LaGuardia from California. It was given the go-ahead to land, at the same time the United plane headed to Memphis was told to take off.
They came within 50 yards of each other before the other plane was given last minute orders to do a lap of the airport.
“If it wasn’t for the pilot’s quick reaction we probably would’ve collided actually,” Cary said.
The National Transportation Safety Board has yet to say who made the mistake, but experts are leaning toward air traffic control for the flub.
Arthur Rosenburt is an aviation attorney.
He said, “That express jet should have been held in the ready position until the 737 had cleared the runway and made a safe landing.”
The NTSB has issued new rules as a result of that near miss. Planes can no longer land on that Newark runway.
Cary says it was a long flight home, but the crew did everything they could to make them comfortable for the rest of the trip.
“Everybody got pretty much free whatever they wanted to on the flight.”
She says she’s never been a fan of takeoff, and that near miss proved why.