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Pilot praised for averting mid-air collision with world's largest passenger jet

19 July 2017 - 22:25


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A pilot has been applauded for successfully avoiding what could have been a fatal mid-air collision with  world's biggest passenger jet, saving the lives of hundreds of people.

On the 14th of July, Emirates Airbus A380, Flight EK703 was flying from Dubai to Mauritius. After being cleared by Air Traffic Control, the passenger jet descended to 38,000 feet as it was reaching it's final destination. Meanwhile, Air Seychelles Airbus A330, Flight HM54 had just taken off from Mauritius, travelling towards the opposite direction. 

Captain of Flight HM54 - Roberto Vallicelli spotted EK703 which was heading straight into his path. As soon as the plane was in view, the pilot made a sharp turn to the right, in order to avert collision with the largest passenger jet in the world. 

According to the Aviation Herald, the Emirates crew had reported an incorrect altitude stating that the plane had descended to 36,000 feet. The capacity of the Emirates Airbus A380 is maximum 615 passengers, whilst the maximum passenger capacity for Air Seychelles Airbus A330 is 277. If the two aircraft's had collided, the results would have been fatal with the death of over 800 passengers. 

Once the crew of the Emirates aircraft came to the realization that the plane was higher than previously noted and heading towards Air Seychelles Flight HM54, a Traffic Collision Avoidance System alert was initiated immediately. As soon as both crews pointed each other, Captain Roberto Vallicelli was able to take a sharp turn, averting the aircraft from the path of the large passenger jet. 

The two aircrafts passed each other at the same altitude, approximately 14 kilometres (8.6 miles) apart from each other, state the Aviation Herald.

“We commend our Captain Roberto Vallicelli and Seychellois First Officer Ronny Morel who were operating the HM054 flight from Mauritius to Seychelles on the evening of Friday 14 July 2017,” read a statement by a spokesperson for Air Seychelles. "Their training standard and operating protocols immediately kicked in which demonstrates the extremely high standards of training which our Air Seychelles pilots attain. We highly commend them for what they have done.”

Whilst an Emirates spokesperson said “Emirates has received reports of an event on July 14, 2017 in relation to aircraft separation involving flight EK703 in Mauritius airspace. The matter has been reported to the respective air transport authorities and Emirates will extend its full cooperation to any investigation. The safety of our passengers and crew is of utmost importance.”


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