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Airliner, military helicopter narrowly escape colliding above HCMC

Relevant agencies will meet on Thursday to discuss a dangerous incident in which two aircraft, one civil and the other military, narrowly missed colliding with each other above Ho Chi Minh City on October 29. 

Relevant agencies will meet on Thursday to discuss a dangerous incident in which two aircraft, one civil and the other military, narrowly missed colliding with each other above Ho Chi Minh City on October 29.
Relevant agencies will meet on Thursday to discuss a dangerous incident in which two aircraft, one civil and the other military, narrowly missed colliding with each other above Ho Chi Minh City on October 29.

Do Quang Viet, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV), told Tuoi Tre on Wednesday that the agency has received an initial report from the Vietnam  Air Traffic Management Corporation (VATM) on the incident.

According to the report, two Vietnamese aircraft, an Airbus A321 of Vietnam Airlines (VNA) and a Mi 172/423 helicopter narrowly avoided colliding with each other over HCMC’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport on October 29.

It is expected that the CAAV will meet with the management agencies of the helicopter and the plane to clarify the cause of the dangerous incident, Viet said.

In a report sent by the VATM to the CAAV on November 18, the agency said the Airbus had departed the airport for the central city of Hue.

Not long after take-off, at 11:41 am, when the plane was at an elevation of 1,000 feet (304.8 meters), the pilot detected a Mi 172/423 helicopter flying horizontally at the same height, the report said.

Luckily, a collision did not take place.

The helicopter took off from the same airport nine seconds after the Airbus, according to the report.

Meanwhile, according to a VNA report, the elevation at which the two aircraft appeared at the same time was lower, 500 feet (around 152 meters), and the distance between the two at that time was 200 feet (60 meters).

Viet, from the CAAV, initially commented that the military air traffic controller had not complied with flight safety procedures and failed to coordinate with the civil traffic air controller at the airport.

“If he want the helicopter to fly across the flight path of the Airbus, the military air traffic controller must notify the civil air traffic controller in advance, but the former did not do so, leading to the incident,” Viet said.

A similar case happened on June 27, 2014 when two airplanes almost collided at Da Nang International Airport.

That day, intern air traffic controller Truong Nguyen Quynh Anh instructed a Jetstar Pacific airplane to take off from a runway where a Vietnam Airlines plane coming in from Ho Chi Minh City had not left it yet.