WASHINGTON — Conflicting instructions from air traffic controllers seated side by side nearly caused two jumbo jets to collide on a Minneapolis airport runway on March 31, the investigation into the incident indicated Wednesday.
The National Transportation Safety Board released a transcript of tower radio communications showing that one controller gave a Northwest Airlines DC-10 clearance for takeoff, while the other controller at the same time told another Northwest DC-10 to proceed across the same runway.
The two transmissions were made only one second apart, although on different radio frequencies, according to the documents. The two controllers, one a 24-year veteran and the other who just recently became fully qualified, were temporarily relieved of traffic duties.
Reassigned for Training
The recently qualified controller, who directed the plane to cross the runway, has been reassigned for further training, and the veteran controller, who gave the takeoff clearance, has been returned to normal duty, FAA spokesman Mort Edlestein said Wednesday.