A small plane was forced to take evasive action Wednesday evening to avoid an in-flight crash with a British Caledonia DC-10 over Seal Beach, an airline spokesman said Friday.
The smaller plane apparently did not show up on the air traffic controller's radar screen, authorities confirmed Friday. The jetliner pilot said the smaller plane was 1,000 feet away.
Responsibility for the DC-10 jetliner, carrying 200 people, had been transferred from a Los Angeles International Airport radar facility to the air traffic control center in Palmdale, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Russell Park said.
The London-bound airliner had departed Los Angeles International Airport just minutes before the 6:29 p.m. encounter at 8,500 feet over Seal Beach, airline spokesman Robert Hallman said.
The FAA was investigating the incident involving British Caledonia Flight 224 and an unidentified white Bonanza with an orange stripe.
"The air traffic controller did not show the (other plane)," Hallman said. The airliner pilot asked the controller if the smaller plane was on the screen before or after the incident and he was told that it was not, he said.
Hallman said the smaller plane took evasive action to avoid hitting the airliner.
Park said the controller did not advise the jet pilot of the smaller craft.
The airliner had climbed to about 8,500 feet when the pilot reported an unidentified plane had passed from right to left 1,000 feet in front of him, Park said. FAA safety regulations require a minimum five-mile separation horizontally and 1,000 feet vertically.
"The rule in that area is see and be seen," Park said, adding that there was no report as to what the controller saw.
The incident occurred in an area where radar does not always detect all aircraft in the sky, according to controllers at LAX and at the Palmdale center, located about 50 miles northeast of downtown.