Officials: Planes come within 400 feet in air near Pittsburgh

OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) -- Two passenger planes had to take evasive action to avoid a mid-air collision Tuesday morning east of Pittsburgh.

Officials blame the near-collision on a trainee air traffic controller who they say gave the wrong instructions to a Delta Air Lines pilot, putting him in the path of the other jet.

Both pilots were alerted to the danger by their cockpit collision avoidance systems and were able to quickly change course. The Federal Aviation Administration says Delta pilot made a nosedive and missed a PSA flight by about 400 feet.

The controller, who had only about a year on the job, is being retrained.

A Delta spokeswoman says the passengers "were never in danger." But a spokeswoman for the National Air Traffic Controllers association says it was the closest call she has ever seen.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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