Passenger plane evades collision over Pakistan
FRANKFURT, Oct 9: A Lufthansa jumbo jet, en route from Bangkok, was forced to dodge two US fighter jets to avoid a collision in airspace south of Pakistan on Sunday, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
The incident occurred in the evening just around the time the US and Britain were launching their first attacks against Afghanistan, said a spokesman. The Lufthansa jet, carrying 308 passengers from Bangkok to Frankfurt, was cruising at an altitude of 10,000 metres in an international air corridor south of Pakistan when it was approached by two US military jets.
"Our plane had the bad luck to be flying in the zone at the moment when the US-led assault began," the spokesman said. Like all Lufthansa jets, the aircraft was equipped with an automatic alert system which tells the pilot to direct the jet higher when a flying object comes "unusually" close.
"This is what happened," the spokesman said. The US fighter jets established contact with Lufthansa plane to double-check its identity. Once that had been done, "they departed and the jet could carry on its journey as normal", he said.
The incident occurred at night and the US jets would not have been noticed by passengers on board the Lufthansa aircraft. To them, the dodging manoeuvre would have felt like a spot of turbulence. "There was never any danger for the passengers," the spokesman insisted, adding that Lufthansa "had full understanding" for the control measures undertaken by the US air force. -AFP