WASHINGTON — Two jetliners reportedly flew within 300 feet of each other and nearly collided over the North Atlantic earlier this week because one plane was flying at the wrong altitude, federal officials said Thursday.
The incident Monday about 700 miles east of Boston involved Lockheed L-1011 jets flown by American Trans Air, a U.S. charter airline, and LuftTransport, a West German charter carrier, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the near-collision report filed by the American Trans Air pilot, Capt. Richard Reb.
Reb said he lowered his plane's nose and descended 1,000 feet after seeing the other aircraft about 200 to 300 feet away, according to a spokesman for the airline. The two jets were cruising at about 35,000 feet at the time of the incident.
FAA spokesman John Leyden said preliminary reports indicate that both planes were flying the proper route but that "it looks like a case of the wrong altitude" on the part of the LuftTransport plane.