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Hijacking Was Feared In The Case Of The Northwest Plane That Flew Too Far

October 23, 2009 at 9:38 AM | by | ()

Have you ever been so engaged in a heated discussion while driving that you completely drive past your destination without noticing, although you've got the GPS on? It's hard to imagine, but that's exactly what two Northwest Airlines pilots are claiming happened to them on Wednesday, when they overshot their destination of Minneapolis by 150 miles, claiming they were distracted by their "heated discussion over airline policy and lost track of their location."

No one was hurt, and the plane eventually did turn back around and safely land in Minneapolis, although behind schedule and with some majorly freaked out air traffic controllers. You see, after the airport tower couldn't get contact with the pilots for over an hour, and then when they did they received vague answers, the controllers feared that the flight had been hijacked. Fighter jets in the area were scrambled and ready to fly, but weren't deployed once the NWA pilots finally got their heads on straight and completed maneuvers to prove that they were indeed in control of their own plane.

Although we doubt that the passengers knew what was up, it must have been a scary situation for those on the ground—mobilizing as they were to deal with a possible hijacking, emergency landing, or—heaven forbid—a crash. Of course the NTSB is investigating the incident, including the possibility that the pilots had fallen asleep, which is what happened with a Hawaiian Go Airlines flight that overshot its airport in February 2008.

This has just not been Delta's week; first they confuse passengers by changing flight numbers, then one of their flights lands on a taxiway, and now they've got the case of the distracted Northwest pilots.

Related Stories:
· Officials Probe Fatigue After Jet Misses Airport [MSNBC]
· Airliner overshoots airport; controllers feared hijacking [CNN]
· Northwest Airlines [Jaunted]

[Photo: planephotoman / Wiki Commons]

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