An accident was averted at Ben-Gurion Airport on Thursday evening, after a forward air controller spotted an Air Berlin plane deviating from its runway while taking off and approaching an El Al place about to land.
The German plane was ordered to take a different path. The Israeli plane, which arrived from Athens, landed safely. The Transportation Ministry launched an investigation into the incident.
Sources in the aviation industry defined Thursday evening's incident as extremely serious due to the fact that the air controller's awareness was the only thing that prevented a collision between the two planes.
The incident took place at around 5:30 pm. For an unknown reason, the German plane deviated southward after taking off from east to west. The Israel Airports Authority, said the cause was likely human error on the part of the German pilot.
Ben-Gurion Airport has been operating with only one runway for take offs and landings due to renovations on the other runway as part of the airport's safety upgrade.
Ynet has learned that only two days ago, in the evening, an Alitalia plane about to take off progressed despite the red lights at the start of the runway. At the same time, a plane belonging to the Russian Transaero airline began landing on the same runway.
The control tower ordered the Italian plane to stop and the Russian plane to circle in the air and let the Alitalia aircraft take off and leave the runway.
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