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Soviets Say U.S. Fighter Nearly Hit Aeroflot Jetliner

August 28, 1987|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — A Soviet official charged Thursday that a U.S. Air Force jet fighter nearly collided with an Aeroflot jetliner during its approach to New York's Kennedy International Airport last Sunday.

Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady I. Gerasimov said that the Aeroflot pilot "noticed a fighter plane flying . . . on a head-on course" at an altitude of 5,500 feet about 20 miles southeast of New York.

"The fighter then veered to the left at a high speed and passed at a distance of 50 to 100 yards from the airliner," he said.

Gerasimov did not say what type of planes were involved in the incident, but Aeroflot normally flies the Ilyushin-62, which seats 162 passengers, on its Moscow to New York run.

Spokesman Fred Farrar of the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the Soviet pilot reported a near-collision at 1:20 p.m. EDT Sunday, radioing the Kennedy control tower that a "military jet" had flown within 450 feet of the airliner.

But the FAA spokesman said that air traffic controllers at Kennedy noticed no aircraft near the Soviet jetliner on their radar screens.

"We're not saying there wasn't something there, we're just saying that if there was, it didn't show on the radar," said Farrar.

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