More than 500 passengers had a narrow escape when a mid-air collision was averted after a Sukhoi fighter jet of the Indian Air Force veered dangerously close to two international flights in the Amritsar airpace.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered an inquiry into the incident, which occurred on Thursday. “The Sukhoi, on its way to Ambala air base, was supposed to fly at 22,000 feet but reached 35,600 feet, assigned to the two international airlines’ flights. Though the fighter jet was supposed to maintain at least 1,000 feet of separation, it was within 700 feet of the civilian flights since it breached its flying path,” said an air traffic control (ATC) official.
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Initial investigation revealed that the Sukhoi breached the minimum vertical safety level while ascending in the Amritsar airspace. ATC sources said they tried to contact pilot flying the Sukhoi aircraft but failed. In his statement to the inquiry team, the pilot said that jet’s altitude measuring machine (altimeter) was not working.