FAA investigating pilot's ignored distress call in Denver
Air traffic controllers under scrutiny
- Duration 5:41
- Date Apr 11, 2012
Air traffic controllers under scrutiny
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Pretty scary stuff if you ever fly on commercial airlines the FAA.
Is investigating air traffic controllers at Denver International Airport.
For apparently thinking a pilot's call for help was a hoax.
The pilot of the United Airlines flight -- the tower to report smoke in the cockpit and ask for emergency help on the ground.
But the air traffic controllers.
They thought the call was quote BS and did nothing.
Turns out there was a fire and smoke in the cockpit but the plane got on the ground safely.
Let's talk about a -- Jason Friedman a former prosecutor and Doug burns a criminal defense attorney.
I'm wondering Doug if there is the possibility for some kind of liability here either -- civil liability or maybe even criminal liability.
On the part of these controllers.
Well ordinarily would thinks our -- but what happened is.
There -- three -- -- first of all when the call came in it was actually flight 59125912.
But it came across as flight twelve.
That's unfortunate and sounds bizarre but that's what happened so then the controller followed up -- if not surprisingly.
What's your location and and another bizarre recipe for confusion and disaster.
There was no response.
Lastly it appears on the facts have to be developed in our in more detail on really -- it but it appears that they did not repeat did not use.
The correct emergency frequency that should have been used so for all of those reasons.
That's why this happened and thank god there which one they want people on the fly it landed safely thank god.
Could have been much much worse but it was those three disconnect that caused the problem so I would therefore argue that they're not.
Ultimately going to be facing liability.
-- Jason I mean smoke in the cockpit is an extremely serious situation the Swiss air flight that went down off Nova Scotia.
Back in about 1998 September of 98 went down in part because the the pilots had smoke.
In the cockpit.
It apparently wasn't in -- passenger cabin.
But it crashed that plane in 229.
People lost their lives as a result one would think.
That anytime you hear about smoke in the cockpit.
Air traffic controllers would be paying extra special attention.
-- absolutely and that's what makes this so frightening I mean just that absolute.
Gross -- -- departure from the protocol.
And had to deal with such a situation.
I mean think about it this is a very infrequent thing when -- air traffic controller gets a distress calls smoke in the cockpit emergency.
The AB air traffic control has that -- on the side of caution.
Drop everything this is a priority.
And I have to think that it's very rare on top of that to get such a hoax.
Or in you -- a false report of an emergency me what was this.
Air traffic controller thinking and why.
Why did he think it was a hoax I mean somebody has some explaining to do -- I'm just thankful that.
Obviously turned out to be okay but a complete breakdown in the protocol and the communication.
Between the air traffic controller in the pilot.
And we know that communication breakdown can be a recipe for air disasters it's just an awful thing that happened I'm glad the FAA is looking into this.
Yeah one of the things Doug you're supposed to do you know if you're a pilot and and you have some kind of a problem the first thing you're supposed to do is fly the airplane you AV eight right before you communicate so -- -- the pilot did clip.
Maybe you know maybe in his rush to -- the microphone he's telling them the the control tower.
The wrong number or maybe they just misheard them the wrong number -- why not scramble -- fire department.
Crews in the first place anyway it's my understanding.
That the pilot landed the plane.
They pulled the shoots you know the passengers sitting there on the runway sliding down the -- and and then the folks in the tower still didn't know what was going.
Well look I agree with Jason that a -- is certainly out of the statistical majority.
But having said that.
Air -- as an airplane frequencies are available.
-- do you see some bizarre situations that could come a point in time just so everybody's clear.
Where they realize it was legitimate and some help was put out there.
But again you know I think Jason hit it on the head I mean you're not -- really look exactly what happened I heard parts of the actual tape.
Myself which is -- -- -- to listen to and again you know with a 99%.
Thank god success rate.
On this as just a very bizarre bizarre situation but again if it's determined.
That the controller in good faith.
Thought that it was a flight that doesn't exist and -- familiar with every flights are united twelve what's that I never heard of it.
And then -- so what's your location and there's no response that's why this happened.
It explains it part of doesn't justify it.
Jason I'm not one of those who believes that every perceived slight in life deserves a lawsuit but -- the passengers here have any kind of a claim against I don't know the airliner that the government.
-- -- -- Largely for them they don't because nobody was injured and -- result of it we can't really bring a claim for what could have happened we can only bring a claim in the civil round.
What actually happened and fortunately nobody was hurt.
There was no -- -- physical harm to anyone as a result of this the -- So ultimately I think it's an administrative remedy.
Rather than anything in the court of law by any of these passengers.
I will say that the -- definitely we've been looking into the conduct of the pilot is well because.
The pilot seemed to be non responsive at times and you know really make needs to make this emergency -- -- get confirmation.
That indeed the proper emergency vehicles will be on the ground in red.
In defense of the pilot felt like I said aviator before you communicate you you first fly that airplane -- worry about the communications later that's the rule mr.
all right Jason Friedman Doug burns thank you.