Air India-Vistara mid-air collision: How Captain Kohli saved 261 lives

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In what could have become a mass crash in the skies, leaving more than 250 aircraft dead, two aircraft belonging to Vistara and Air India (AI) were close to a collision in the air on February 7. According to reports, the setback was avoided thanks to the presence of the mind shown by the commander of the woman on the AI ​​plane.

Captain Anupama Kohli, the commander of the Air Indian flight, saved the day and lives of 261 passengers traveling on the two planes when he saw the Vistara plane approaching and immediately went up and turned right to get away from the other plane, the Times of India reported, citing sources, on Monday.

According to reports, the 997 Pune de Vistara plane from Delhi, carrying 152 passengers, was only 100 feet from Air India’s AI 631 flight to Bhopal, which had 109 passengers on board. How close were the two planes colliding? “Just a few seconds away …”, sources told the national newspaper.

According to the report, there was some confusion in the air traffic controllers, who have been suspended, the coordination with the two planes on that day. An investigation was launched into this, the national newspaper added.

According to the sources cited in the report, Vistara’s flight was down from 29,000 feet, which was his assigned level, to 27,100 feet, where AI’s plane was flying in the opposite direction.

What caused the narrow shave? The sources said that the confusion between the controllers and the Vistara cabin could have occurred. During those tense moments, the Vistara cabin, which was also being driven by a female co-pilot when the captain had taken a break to go to the bathroom, could have received faulty altitude instructions due to possible communication confusion.

“Maybe there was a confusion in the communication in those tense seconds like what altitude instruction is being given to which lady,” the sources told the national newspaper.

The national newspaper reports how things went down thousands of meters in the air: it was in the midst of all this confusion that Captain Kohli, who is a senior commander of the A-320 family and has more than 20 years of experience, saw the The Vistara flight approaches its plane and listened to the controllers asking the former why it was at this level.

When asked, the Vistara driver told the controllers that he had been told to come to this level.

With the red sign going up in the cockpit of the AI ​​flight and a resolution warning to “climb, climb, climb”, Captain Kohli avoided the disaster by climbing immediately and turning right to get away from the Vistara plane, said the sources quoted for the national newspaper.

The two Vistara flight pilots, according to news agencies, have been punished pending an investigation. The Air India pilots in question have been authorized to fly by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Office for not being at fault.

Confirming the incident, Vistara told PTI that the two pilots involved had been withdrawn in flight service pending an investigation.

A spokesperson from Vistara said: “Our pilot followed the standard operating procedure to avoid it and made a smooth landing, the matter is being investigated by the competent authority.”

Commenting on the incident, an Air India official said: “The Air India plane was operating according to the ATC (air traffic control) instructions, there was no confusion, but it seems that something had gone wrong between the Vistara pilot and the ATC. , the Vistara plane continued to descend while the ATC gave different instructions, there was a kind of discussion between them. “