Passenger jet 'seconds away' from crashing into Runcorn Bridge

Runcorn and Widnes World: A warning sounded as a Flybe plane flew too close to the Runcorn Bridge A warning sounded as a Flybe plane flew too close to the Runcorn Bridge

A PASSENGER jet is believed to have been just seconds away from crashing into the Runcorn bridge, accident investigators have revealed.

A warning alert blared into the cockpit of the The Flybe flight as it descended towards Liverpool John Lennon Airport, at a rate of 2,000 feet a minute.

The autopilot was disengaged at 894 feet. The Silver Jubilee Bridge is 285 ft high.

Documents reveal that the early morning plane was carrying 65 passengers and crew from the Isle of Man when the near miss happened in June, 2013.

A bulletin by the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB), which investigates serious air incidents, reports: “Potential conflict with terrain or an abstacle results in the ground proximity warning system, ‘EGWPS’, providing a visual and audio caution or warning alert.

“The obstacle concerned in this case was not positively identified but was possibly the Runcorn Bridge.”

The report adds that the flight crew took ‘appropriate action’ to correct the danger and made a safe landing.

Flybe said that whilst the safety of the flight was not compromised at any time, actions have since been taken to improve safety.

A Flybe spokesman said: “Flybe confirms that safety of its passengers and crew is its number one priority.

“The event highlighted in the AAIB report was thoroughly investigated by our own investigators and with correspondence with the AAIB. Both parties concluded that at no time was the safety of the flight compromised.

“However, in light of the event, and despite the AAIB making no recommendations, Flybe have taken a number of actions to further improve safety.”

The incident was documented in reports which airlines are legally bound to submit to the industry watchdog, the Civil Aviation Authority.

A CAA spokesman said: “The UK has an excellent aviation safety record.

“In terms of large commerciallty operated aeroplanes, the UK fatal accident rate is half that of the rest of the world combined.”

“Because there is a legal obligation on airlines to report all safety incidents to us, no matter how seemingly trivial, we are able to share that information with other airlines to learn lessons.”

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