Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just Great: Air Traffic Controller Was Yakking on the Phone During Deadly Collision Over Hudson

Here's video of it via NBC News. Turns out the air traffic controller at Teterboro was busy on the phone talking to his girlfriend and his supervisor was nowhere to be found. Who knows, he was probably busy texting as well.
The air traffic controller at Teterboro Airport was on the phone with his girlfriend during Saturday's deadly air collision over the Hudson River, the Daily News has learned.

His supervisor was nowhere to be found at the time.

Both have been suspended and will likely be fired.

Investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration revealed the two air traffic controllers, who were not immediately identified, had seriously deviated from their assignments at the time of the collision.

Nine people were killed when a small Piper plane with three aboard and a Liberty Helicopters chopper carrying five Italian tourists collided and plummeted into the river.

Officials said that the controller's actions were "unacceptable" even though they were not apparently to blame for the crash.

The NTSB and FAA investigators discovered the improper procedures by listening to audio recordings from the tower at Teterboro in New Jersey.

"In conjunction with the FAA's participation with the NTSB's inquiry into the recent Hudson River accident, we learned that the controller handling the Piper flight was involved in apparently inappropriate conversations on the telephone at the time of the accident," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said.

"We also learned that the supervisor was not present in the building as required.

"While we have no reason to believe at this time that these actions contributed to the accident, this kind of conduct is unacceptable and we have placed the employees on administrative leave and have begun disciplinary proceedings.

"We respect the NTSB's authority in determining the cause of the accident and will continue to work closely with NTSB investigators," Babbitt added.

The air traffic controller on duty was in radio contact with the doomed aircraft, but he was also on a separate line with his girlfriend, according to an angry senior administration official.

"He should not have been on the phone with his girlfriend while he was observing an airplane," the source said.
Thanks to Hot Air for the link.

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