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article imageFireman acts as air traffic controller, guides plane to land

By Katerina Nikolas     Feb 2, 2012 in Travel
A fireman rushed into the hot seat at air traffic control at Tirupati airport, when an incoming flight was unable to make contact with air traffic control staff. The fireman successfully averted disaster as he guided the plane to land safely.
Disaster was averted when an incoming flight from Hyderabadhad, with 70 passengers on board, was guided to land by a fireman at Tirupati airport, in the Andrah Pradesh region of India. The fireman came to the rescue when air traffic controllers failed to turn up for the morning shift on January 9.
According to the Hans India, airport authorities chose to keep the incident secret until now, although an investigation was launched. Confirming an investigation is underway, authorities said "As of now, we are assuming that only one flight landed without the allotted ATC staff on duty."
India Today reported that a Jet Airways ATR-72 plane and a Spice-Jet plane were both delayed as they came into land due to an absence of ATC staff. The pilot of the Jet Airways flight was desperately attempting to make contact with ATC at Tirupati airport, the Daily Mail reported.
When a manager was informed that there were no qualified staff on hand to guide the planes he "requested on-duty firefighter M. Basha to rush to the ATC tower and handle the radio transmitters." Basha was able to give instructions for the Jet Airways flight to land but was spared the ordeal of landing the Spice-Jet plane by the arrival of ATC staff.
An officer investigating the incident said "No one doubts Basha's intention to help during a crisis. He wanted the flight to land safely. But he is untrained and must not attempt to do the ATC's job. Mere good intention is not enough in this case."
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