747 Swerves to Miss Light Plane in Path


A jumbo jetliner approaching Los Angeles International Airport with 386 passengers on board had to swerve at the last moment to avoid a light plane that was less than 500 feet away, a federal aviation official said Monday.

A flight attendant and a passenger suffered minor injuries--a bruised arm and a small cut on the hand--when the Air New Zealand jetliner dived suddenly to the left Sunday evening to avoid the unidentified plane about 20 miles east of Santa Catalina Island, according to the official and an airline representative.

The Boeing 747 swerved out of the way after twice receiving a warning from air traffic controllers that there appeared to be “conflicting traffic” in the area, said Gary Mucho, an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.


Mucho said the Air New Zealand pilot reported that the light plane--believed to be a twin-engine Cessna--also took evasive action.

The NTSB investigator said his office will study radar tape recordings in an attempt to identify the light plane by determining where it went after the incident.

Diane Anderson, a spokeswoman for the airline, said Air New Zealand’s Flight 6 took off from Papeete, Tahiti, on Sunday on the last leg of a journey that had begun the night before in Auckland, New Zealand.