The near collision of two jets carrying about 300 people in Los Angeles last August highlights the failure of federal aviation regulators to keep track of dangerous runway incidents, reports USA Today. An Asiana Airlines 747 coming in for a landing on Aug. 19 had to make an emergency climb after a Southwest Airlines 737 lumbered into its path while preparing for takeoff, the National Transportation Safety Board said at a hearing. The two jets missed by 185 feet. The incident on a clear afternoon could have led to hundreds of deaths if it happened in darkness or poor weather, investigators said.
But despite the close call, the control tower did not report the incident to investigators at the Federal Aviation Administration. Investigators learned about the incident days later from Southwest Airlines. The NTSB says that accurate reporting of runway incidents is critical to determine the extent of the problem and to identify ways to prevent accidents. The number of runway incidents fell from 431 in 2000 to 325 last year, but the decrease may be because of lack of reporting, an official said.