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Air Traffic Controller Nearly Causes Collision with ‘Slip of the Tongue’

A "slip of the tongue" by an air traffic controller at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport saw two planes come within 300 feet of crashing into each other in July, 2020.

A United Airlines flight from Newark, NJ was making its approach to land at the same time that an EasyJet was preparing to take off for Malaga, Spain. The Newark flight was supposed to be assigned to land on runway 09L, as the Malaga flight was cleared to take off from runway 09R.

Due to an unfortunate slip of the tongue, however, the controller gave clearance for Newark to land on 09R, instead of 09L. Furthermore, the controller didn’t have direct line-of-sight access to runway 09R because of an equipment malfunction.

Eventually, the Malaga flight asked why the Newark plane was given clearance to land on their runway, and warned of the imminent collision. The Newark plane was instructed to abort the landing and ascend, but by the time it engaged the evasive maneuver, the two planes were only 300 feet apart.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Even in situations that seem routine, our words still have tremendous power to heal or hurt, build or destroy. Being careless with the tongue is akin to flirting with calamity.

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