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National Briefing / WASHINGTON, D.C.

60 seconds more and jets would've hit

August 30, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Two airliners were one minute from colliding when at least one of the planes turned away over the Atlantic Ocean this week, federal authorities said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the Thursday incident, in which a Delta Air Lines flight and a Russian-registered passenger jet were heading toward each other north of Puerto Rico.

Cockpit alarms went off, and the pilot of the Russian plane -- a Transaero Boeing 747 -- descended 200 to 300 feet to avoid Delta Flight 485, the NTSB said.

The planes were at the same altitude -- 33,000 feet over open ocean -- and "60 seconds apart from occupying the same airspace," NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said. The NTSB said there were no injuries.

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