Southwest plane narrowly misses Baltimore airport ambulance
A Southwest Airlines jet crashed within 200 feet of an ambulance crossing the runway as it took off at Baltimore Airport – in one of a series of frighteningly close-up operations across the United States.
According to DC News Now on Tuesday, the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicle crossed runway 15R at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) without a permit on Jan. 12.
The Southwest Boeing 737 had just been cleared to take off from the same runway and missed the ambulance by less than half the length of a football field, the outlet reported.
“The next estimated horizontal separation occurred at a distance of 173 feet,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a new analysis of the harrowing incident.
The ARFF driver was told to “stay short” before the runway, but read out the instruction as “ARFF 439 via runway 10 and 15 right.”
According to the FAA, the controller did not catch the readback error.
Newly released footage showed the alarmed controller informing the ARFF driver of his mistake.
“ARFF 439, you should hold runway 15R short!” says the controller.
By this time the vehicle had crossed the runway and was on an adjacent taxiway when the aircraft continued its takeoff roll and departed.
An airport spokesman confirmed that the vehicle “crossed a runway without approval from air traffic control.”
The representative told DC News Now in a statement, “The airport has fully cooperated and shared information regarding the incident with the FAA.
“Based on the review of the incident, new procedures were immediately put in place to ensure safety and prevent a similar incident in the future. Safety remains the top priority for BWI Marshall Airport,” the spokesman added.
A spokesman for the airline said in a statement: “Southwest complies with air traffic control instructions at all times and our crew have done so in this scenario as well.”
The FAA has four severity levels for runway incursions — A, B, C, and D — based on severity. The incident at BWI was classified as Category B.
“Category B is an incident where distance is decreasing and there is significant potential for collision, which may result in a time-sensitive corrective/evasive response to avoid a collision,” the FAA said.
The close call came to light after the FAA held an emergency summit last week in McLean, Va., to address a series of recent safety incidents and near misses.
There have been at least seven other close talks across the country since December.
“There is no question that aviation is amazingly safe, but vigilance can never take the day off,” Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement after the meeting.
“We have to ask ourselves difficult and sometimes uncomfortable questions, even when we are convinced that the system is in order,” he said.
The latest incident happened on Saturday when a Southwest plane was about a mile away from a helicopter practicing landings at Hollywood-Burbank Airport, ABC 7 reported.
The air traffic controller instructed the airliner to abort landing and fly around.
In February, a FedEx cargo plane nearly collided with a Southwest flight in Texas.
The FedEx flight was cleared to land on Runway 18 Left at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport — but seconds later, the Southwest flight was cleared to take off on the same runway.
The FedEx pilot aborted the landing and turned around.
https://nypost.com/2023/03/22/southwest-plane-narrowly-misses-baltimore-airport-ambulance/ Southwest plane narrowly misses Baltimore airport ambulance