Delhi airport witnessed a close call on Wednesday as two Vistara flights were nearly involved in a collision. The incident occurred when one flight was landing and the other was taxing for takeoff. Alertness on the part of an experienced pilot saved the day as the potential catastrophe was averted at the last moment.
The safety of nearly 300 passengers was at stake as the air traffic controllers inadvertently set the two Vistara flights on a collision course. Fortunately, a professional pilot who was on board one of the flights flagged the issue and saved the day. The pilot’s name was later announced as Captain Sonu Gill of the Ahmedabad-Delhi flight.
According to a report, the two planes were less than two kilometers apart when the controllers were alerted about the situation. Officials at the airport stated that if the flight that was taking off was not stopped, a major accident could have occurred.
The incident occurred when flight VT1926 from Ahmedabad to Delhi was instructed to cross runway 29R after landing on runway 29L on Wednesday morning. However, the controller ‘momentarily forgot’ that another Vistara flight, VTI725, was operating on the same runway for takeoff. That’s when the close call occurred between the two planes.
The tower controller realized the potential mishap upon input from VTI926, and immediately instructed VTI725 to cancel takeoff. A senior DGCA official informed PTI that “momentarily, the tower controller forgot this crossing and issued takeoff clearance to another Vistara flight VTI725 (Delhi–Bagdogra) from runway 29R. On realization of the error based on input from VTI926, the tower controller instructed VTI725 to cancel takeoff.”
Earlier on the same day, a Pune-bound Vistara flight was forced to return to Delhi after adverse weather conditions resulted in a windshield crack. As a precautionary measure, the pilots decided to turn back and safely landed the aircraft in Delhi. The airline immediately arranged for an alternate aircraft, which was scheduled to depart soon.
The incident is a stark reminder of the importance of professional vigilance and precautions when it comes to air travel. The quick thinking of the experienced pilot, Captain Sonu Gill, and the timely intervention of the tower controller can be credited with averting a potential disaster.