Allegiant Flight's close call in mid-air over South Florida

  • An Allegiant plane took evasive action to avoid a collision with another jet shortly after departing Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
  • One flight attendant was injured during the abrupt maneuver, while most passengers were safely buckled due to expected turbulence.
  • The FAA has initiated an investigation into the incident, amidst concerns of increasing near-misses in recent times.

FORT LAUDERDALE — An Allegiant aircraft faced a perilous moment over South Florida's skies when it narrowly dodged a mid-air collision with a northbound Gulfstream business jet. As the plane abruptly changed its course to prevent the accident, one of the flight attendants, caught off-guard, suffered a head injury and a wrist fracture.

The close call took place just after the Airbus A320, belonging to Allegiant Air flight 485, lifted off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Sunday. Dan Stratman, an experienced commercial pilot and Air Force veteran, highlighted the increasing frequency of such incidents. While still rare, these near-misses are of growing concern. Stratman mentioned the potential factors such as the rehiring of pilots and controllers after the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with the uptick in air travel.

Jerrica Thacker, a passenger on the flight, initially mistook the abrupt maneuver for standard turbulence. Only later, when the pilot informed the passengers of the near-miss, did the gravity of the situation become clear. Due to a prior warning about expected turbulence, the majority of the 174 passengers were fortunately buckled in their seats, minimizing potential injuries.

While FlightAware indicated that the aircraft was in the air for a little over an hour, the unsettling incident left a lasting impression on many aboard. Thacker, having flown only once before this journey, declared she had no intentions of flying again. The pilot's timely actions were undoubtedly commendable, but for many, the ordeal underscored the unpredictability of air travel.

The FAA, taking note of the incident and the broader implications, has commenced an official investigation. When Allegiant's representatives were approached for a statement, they directed inquiries to the FAA, emphasizing the ongoing investigative nature of the situation.