December 20, 2016 1:19 pm
Updated: December 20, 2016 9:15 pm

Officials investigating after air traffic control error sends jet into Air Canada plane’s flight path

WATCH ABOVE: An air traffic controllers mistake almost led to a catastrophic collision between an Air Canada 767 and an Eva Air Boeing 777 in Los Angeles last Friday. Kris Van Cleve reports.

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LOS ANGELES – Federal officials are investigating after an air traffic controller error sent a jet from Los Angeles International Airport into the flight path of another plane while flying low toward Southern California mountains.

An EVA Air Boeing 777 that left LAX in heavy rain around 1:20 a.m. Friday heading to Taiwan was given an incorrect instruction by a controller based in San Diego to turn left instead of right, KABC-TV reported.

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READ MORE: Toronto-bound Air Canada flight slides off runway in London, Ont.

That sent the airliner toward mountains above Altadena, as well as toward the path of an Air Canada plane that had just taken off.

Audio traffic indicates that the same controller realized the error and told the airliner to level out and change direction.

The controller told the pilot several times to head south. More than a minute later, she was still trying to get him to comply, according to KABC.

“EVA 015 Heavy, what are you doing? Turn southbound now, southbound now. Stop your climb,” the controller said after the plane apparently does not heed her initial instruction.

The EVA crew eventually pulled up and got onto the right flight path.

READ MORE: Air traffic controller told pilot to fly too low in fatal Swiss fighter jet crash

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said Tuesday.

Gregor said the two planes remained the required distance from each other at all times during the Friday incident. Regulations require aircraft to be at least 3 miles away laterally or 2,000 feet vertically above obstacles such as mountains.

The controller “took immediate action to keep EVA safely separated from an Air Canada jet” and made sure the EVA aircraft “was safely above or away from nearby terrain.”

Gregor said he couldn’t comment on the details of the investigation or the parties involved.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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