FAA probes close call of Spirit jet, small plane
DETROIT (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is investigating a close call between a Texas-bound Spirit Airlines flight and a skydiving plane that forced the jetliner to dive sharply over Michigan, as screaming passengers feared the plane was going to crash.
Flight attendants bumped their heads and luggage spilled out of overhead binds during the incident Sunday evening.
The Airbus 319 jetliner took off from Detroit Metropolitan Airport with 126 passengers and a crew of 5, bound for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It was over Tecumseh in southeastern Michigan about 8:22 p.m. when controllers reported another plane nearby, the FAA said.
"Air traffic controllers notified the Spirit pilot that a skydiving jump plane was climbing just south of the jetliner's position," FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said in an email. "The Spirit pilot confirmed that he could see the smaller aircraft on his Terminal Collision Avoidance System. ... A minute later, the Spirit jet received an automated TCAS warning that required him to begin an immediate 1,600-foot descent to 12,800 feet from a previous altitude of 14,400 feet."
At the closest, the two planes were 1.6 miles apart horizontally and 400 feet vertically, Cory said.
The sudden dive caught the passengers unaware, said Janet Dunnabeck of Whitney, Texas, who was returning with her 10- and 19-year-old daughters from a visit with Michigan relatives.
"It was horrifying," Dunnabeck told The Associated Press. "Every person on that plane was screaming. We thought we were going down."
Dunnabeck said the plunge caused overhead luggage bins to spill open, drinks to spill and flight attendants to bump their heads.
2 of them complained of pain and asked for medicine, sitting down while nonworking flight attendants stepped up to help.
Jolene Dunnabeck, 10, said she was "really scared."
"It felt like we were falling, we were going to hit the ground and die," she said.
Only after the dive was the pilot able to give out information, announcing only that a "flight control issue" led to the maneuver.
"Thank God he was able to control the plane," said Janet Dunnabeck, who said she spoke with the pilot later at Dallas-Fort Worth airport.
No passengers were injured, said Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson.
"Our pilots followed appropriate procedures and adjusted their flight path upon receiving an advisory of another possible aircraft in range," Pinson said in an email. "The flight continued to Dallas/Fort Worth without incident."
Addressing why the two planes got dangerously close, the FAA pointed to the smaller plane's pilot.
"The skydiving plane was flying under Visual Flight Rules, under which pilots are responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft," Cory said.
Gabrielle Dunnabeck, 19, said she, her mother and sister want answers about what went wrong and whether air traffic controllers should have alerted the Spirit's crew sooner.
"We're still wondering who dropped the ball," she said.
Broadcast editor Jennifer Garske in Washington assisted with this story.
Follow David N. Goodman at http://twitter.com/davidngoodman
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
As far as wardrobe malfunctions go, Jennifer Lopez could probably count this one as her worst ever. The 42-year-old singer managed to fully expose her ample ... Full story
- English teacher, 34, arrested for having sex with 17-year-old student seven times
- Loving Family: Man 'had sex with his sister-in-law so that she could get pregnant rather than getting IVF treatments'
- Dougherty Gang sibling Lee Grace posed naked in XXX photo
- Louisa Ball: Real-life Sleeping Beauty who sleeps for two weeks at a time
- High school teacher Carly McKinney, 23, 'tweeted nude photos of herself, called her students JAIL BAIT and talked about getting high'
- How NOT to dive off a diving board
- Flight MH17's first pictures of passengers emerge
- From mangled to medical rock star: Shotgun victim who underwent most ambitious face transplant ever performed covers GQ and says he is 'honored to be an experiment'
- Is Hamas using human shields in Gaza? UN finds TWO stashes of rockets hidden in empty school next to makeshift housing for 3,000 displaced Palestinians
- The victims of Flight MH17: First pictures of passengers who perished as Putin blames Ukraine for death of 298 innocent souls - but DOESN'T deny Russian separatists shot it down with missile
- Catholic girls' school teacher admits lesbian affair with student, 17, after plying her with alcohol
- American Ebola victim is terrified, say his colleagues as they tell how he dedicated his life to Africa and refused to flee with his young family when virus began to spread
- How not to react in a debate: TV discussion about Gaza and Syria turns violent
- Texas doctor who moved to Africa to help ebola patients has contracted the disease which has now spread to Nigeria after an infected businessman boarded a plane
- Not-so-model citizen: Maxim 'Hometown Hottie' finalist arrested in heroin bust
- Decapitated head of Brazilian footballer Joao Rodrigo Silva Santos found dumped on Rio doorstep
- Shocking image of toddler sipping a Bud Light at Cleveland Browns tailgate goes viral
- Shocking new accounts of the carnage at the MH17 crash site have emerged today
- Miley Cyrus tweets x-rated Halloween pics
- Beyonce recreates iconic Rosie the Riveter feminist poster in new photo shoot
- Verizon boosts FiOS uploads to match downloads
- 'No school tomorrow, all the children in Gaza are dead': Far-right Israelis sing sickening chants in the street to celebrate latest deaths of Palestinian infants
- Dontrell Darling: Fla. boy, 9, shot in face in drive-by while sleeping in his home
- Twitter discloses diversity numbers — most workers are white or Asian
- Shooting spree in small Texas town of Terrell leaves five dead, Charles Brownlow in custody
- New York teen arrested after 'killing brother, 15, and brutally beating respected doctor mother into a coma'
- Mom, 4 young kids killed in NYC stabbing rampage
- Kerry Washington Pregnant, Expecting First Child With Husband Nnamdi Asomugha!
- Antonio Brown accused of dangling child from overpass while drunk and dressed as a clown
- Waitress receives rude note - internet response is epic
- 10 ways to improve your body
- Police pull four bracelets, four necklaces, 11 rings and bag of weed from man’s rectum
- Black hot dogs are being sold in Japan, as seen in viral video
- Teens Charles Horton, Joshua Carney Arrested in Athens BB Gun Shootings
- Footage of woman with airport alligator shows they took train to Chicago's O'Hare airport
- Little Rascals star Blake McIver now a buff go-go dancer
- 'Miracle' baby delivered from dead mother's womb after she is killed in Israeli airstrike
- Georgia's Most Dangerous Cities
- Kangaroo kicks up a fuss in West Texas town, but is it a k-rime?
- School football coach slapped with bullying complaint after team's 91-0 win
- White Republican Dave Wilson wins election in inner city Houston after PRETENDING to be African-American in campaign flyers
- Bond for Gucci Mane set at $75,000
- DeKalb man William Matthews Simmons accused of inappropriate relationship with 15-year-old boy
- Microsoft’s parody of ‘Sexy and I Know It’ is most embarrassing thing ever
- Jennifer Huston's husband begs missing wife to come home
- Math teacher Ashley Anderson, 24, 'who sent students nude pics of herself' admits to having sex with them
- No zoo for you, kid. The US government shutdown hates children
- So poignant, lost children of Flight MH17: Smiling happily in family snapshots, some of the innocent victims of the tragedy
- Serial killer Milton Johnson 'touches heart' of widow, Margaret Seeman, 94
- lagos nigeria 23401 ( Nigerian Dating Scam ) 380
- Pastor Samuel Chapman jailed on child sex charges 79
- Asst. Principal’s Son Chandler Brookins Accused Of Rape In School Bathroom 70
- McDonald's Manager Tiffany Allen Accused Of Punching Customer 68
- Mother Of 5 Wazineh Suleiman Missing After Going To Rent Movie 31
- Teacher Ashley Payne fired for posting picture of herself holding beer on Facebook 29
- 15-Year-Old Held In Girlfriend Angel Freeman's Killing; Gun Found In Creek 26
- New Mexico pastor Gregory Griego, woman, two girls and a boy shot dead during Saturday night shooting spree 25
- 'Wrap your legs around my head': Married Fox weatherman Geoff Fox fired after 'inappropriate' sexting chats with female photographer 22
- Teen Alex Dahm charged with drug possession 21
- Marietta Teen James Glover to be Tried as Adult in beating of a 94-year-old man 20
- Syfy's new show 'Defiance' sucks 20
- Dekalb County Teen Marquis Overstreet Found Shot, Killed, Stabbed 30 Times 19
- Joyriding teens Dustin Surrett, Tessa Upton nabbed in stolen Jaguar 19
- 17-year-old Quavante Combs drowns in Lake Lanier 18
- Husband James Felio Killed By Police After Fight With Wife 17
- James Taylor Named By Colleagues As Pilot From Cockpit Rant 17
- Babysitter Loni Bouchard 'had sex with boy, 14, she was hired to look after' 16
- Suspect In Double Homicide Michael Ntiamoah Is Federal Officer 15
- Police: Woman talking on cell caused crash killing 2 15
- Teacher Shannon Schmieder Sentenced to 40 Years for Affair with 14 Year Old 15
- Police: Ex-Substitute Rene Frank Pregnant With Student’s Twins 14
- Colin Kaepernick: Biological mother Heidi Russo wants relationship with quarterback son she gave up 14
- Teens Sarah Riffe, Michael Perry killed by Jeep in east Georgia town 13
- Gwinnett, Forsyth teens Brandon Hodges, Christian Walker, killed in wreck 13
- Tennessee woman Neena Costanza charged in death of her baby girl by her boyfriend 13
- Teen Demarquis Elkins Arrested in Georgia Baby Shooting Death 13
- Emma Watson suffers wardrobe malfunction night out 12
- Fleeing Driver Adam Sides Hits Officer Head-On During Chase 12
- Smyrna Police Officer Curtis Clyde Cook Fired After Drug Bust 12
- 16-Year-Old Son Charged In Crash That Killed His Mother 12
- 3 Pedestrians Hit, 2 Dead near Interstate 675 in Stockbridge 12
- Atlanta Woman Lashawna Threatt Dies after Fall from W Hotel Room 11
- Florida Man Steven Cozzie Held In Slaying of Georgia Teen Courtney Wilkes in Florida 11
- PICTURED: The assistant Melissa Nelson fired by dentist because she was 'irresistably attractive' and 'threat to his marriage' 11
- Teens Jekari Strozier, Antonio Pass, Johnathan Anthony, Kemonta Bonds charged in death of Mableton man 11
- Teen Cheyenne Sauls Killed In Crash; 17-Year-Old Driver Charged With DUI 10
- Daytona Woman Katie Burson Dies After House Party Shooting 10
- Florida woman Danisa Landaeta arrested for drawing picture of bomb on friend's bag at Miami International Airport 10
- Cops: Mableton Woman Chakaya Folborg stabs sister to death with steak knife 9
- Atlanta Woman Crystal Cross Alleges Beating From Ga. State Patrol 9
- UPDATE: Teen Terry Johnson, Charged In Murder of Shakira Hudson 8
- LA Fitness Manager Juhahn Belcher 's Death Ruled Suspicious 8
- Newnan officer Josh Keller shoots girlfriend in abdomen 8
- Off-Duty Officer Shoots Teen In Nightclub Parking Lot 8
- Dunkin' Donuts employee Melissa Redmond busted for prostitution; sold sex out of restaurant 8
- Teenage Boy Cody Riddle Drowns In Boone Lake 8
- Female Driver Priscilla Johnson Charged After Hitting 3 Teens with Car 8
- Pedestrian Latara Worthy run over, killed in Union City 8
- Revealed: Dramatic pictures of Trayvon's lifeless body as new evidence shows Zimmerman bleeding with 'broken nose' 8
Georgia NewsGet the latest Georgia news, sports, weather, entertainment, business & political news and more from Georgia Newsday.
Rate this article
|PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity||Awkward family photos|
|UPDATED: Faces of Meth||PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter|