A passenger jetliner preparing to leave Barcelona’s El Prat airport taxied across a runway where another was about to land, forcing the arriving plane to abort its landing and climb sharply to avoid a possible disaster.
The pilots who averted a near-miss crash at Barcelona airport have revealed the shocking moment the air traffic controller ‘went silent’ as another plane taxied in front of them on the runway.
Nikolay Limarev, the captain of the UTair Boeing 767, which was carrying 260 passengers, was forced to perform an emergency ‘go-around’ procedure to avoid hitting the Aerolineas Argentinas Airbus A340 at El Prat Airport in Spain.
Limarev admitted the incident ‘could have been serious’ if it had not been a clear day.
The Boeing is forced to abort the landing, with the pilot carrying out an emergency ‘go-around’ procedure.
The jet, which had travelled from Russia, landed safely shortly afterwards.
Co-pilot Kirill Kuzmin told how they heard air traffic control instruct the Argentine aircraft to wait for the UTair aircraft to land before crossing the runway – and also heard the crew of the Airbus acknowledge the order, which they then defied.
UTair – one of Russia’s largest airlines, based at Khanty-Mansiysk in Siberia – praised the captain for his ‘composure and professional excellence’ after ‘appropriately’ assessing the situation.
The airline said that the matter was under investigation.
Plane enthusiast Miguel Angel, who filmed the drama, described it as ‘one of the worst experiences I have ever had’.
Spanish airport authority AENA announced a request for the country’s civil aviation safety commission, CIAIAC, to examine the near miss and its causes.
David Guillamon, spokesman for the Spanish air-traffic controller association, Aprocta, said the incident was a ‘serious case, but claimed that despite appearances, there was ‘no danger of a collision’.