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2019.05.10 16:02

Lithuanian officials investigate near-collision in April involving 3 planes

Officials are investigating an incident where three civilian aircraft in April narrowly averted a midair collision in Lithuanian airspace, due possibly to a fatigued air traffic controller, 15min.lt reported on Friday.

The potentially disastrous incident happened in skies over the southern municipality of Marijampolė on April 19 when LOT Polish Airlines' flight from Warsaw to Tallinn, Corendon Airlines' flight from Oulu to Chania, in Crete, and Nouvelair's flight from Helsinki to Monastir, in Tunisia, found themselves at the same altitude of 11 kilometers, according to the online news site.  

The air traffic controlled had to instruct the aircraft to change their altitude, but, for unknown reasons, such information was not transmitted to the pilots.  

The state-owned air navigation service provider Oro Navigacija told BNS that a collision had been averted thanks to multi-level safeguards, but added that it could not give any details because the investigation was still ongoing. 

"We take information about a potential mid-air incident very seriously. An investigation is currently outgoing and its findings will be analyzed together with the responsible authorities," Transport and Communications Minister Rokas Masiulis said in a comment emailed to BNS.  

"There cannot be a shadow of doubt when it comes to the ability of Oro Navigacija to ensure safety in airspace," he added. 

According to 15min.lt, the incident possibly occurred because of a fatigued air traffic controller and a mid-air collision was averted after the traffic alert system TCAS went off and the planes promptly changed the altitude.