Investigation opened after Avianca and Lufthansa planes almost crash
November 20 2018 11:13 AM
Cali Airport
An Avianca plane parked at Cali Airport. The control tower also is seen. File picture

dpa/Bogota

The Colombian Unit of Civil Aeronautics has opened an investigation into an incident between an Avianca and a Lufthansa plane which on Saturday reportedly went close to colliding before landing in the country's south-west.
"Today we are starting an investigation, where a group of experts will analyze the audio recordings, comparing them with video evidence and the records of the radar signals from the control centres in Cali and Bogota," the authority said in a press release Monday.
The weekend incident was apparently caused by a language barrier issue between the operator in the control tower of Cali airport and a Lufthansa pilot.
Lufthansa flight LH542 from Frankfurt, meant to land in Bogota, had been diverted to Cali, 300 kilometres south-west of the capital due to bad weather.
When the pilot told the Cali operator in English that he needed to descend, he was instructed in Spanish to continue flying over the area until he received the descent order.
But an Avianca plane was in the area waiting for permission to land, leading to the aircrafts' near miss.
In an audio recording released by the authority, the Avianca pilot can be heard telling the operator that "he [the Lufthansa pilot] is not understanding what you are saying and we were very close, please be more clear... If you are not understanding him, please ask someone else to help you."



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