April 8, 2012– The FAA is investigating an incident in Denver where a miscommunication about an emergency landing was recorded between a pilot and air traffic controller. The Federal Aviation Administration said the recent incident, which took place at the Denver International Airport, apparently happened because the air traffic controller misinterpreted the pilot’s request to land due to an emergency.
The controller who is being investigated told one of his colleagues that he thought the call was nothing but “BS” and that someone may have broken into the frequency used by the control tower.
Last week, the flight was evacuated after it landed in Denver. Everyone on board was safely evacuated on the airport’s runway. One passenger asked for medical assistance because of an unknown injury.
Following the landing, fire fighters extinguished a fire that was in the plane’s instrument panel. The fire’s cause was still being investigated.
A recorded conversation between the controller and the pilot seems to indicate the controller did not understand the flight’s number. The FAA said the pilot did not initially report his airline to the controller.
The National Transportation Safety Board announced that they had transferred the investigation to the FAA.
Following the first miscommunication, the controllers realized their error when another emergency request was made by the pilot. The pilot said the plane had landed and the passengers and crew were evacuating the plane.