3 December 2000

Passenger aircraft and US Air Force fighter in closest UK near miss for 20 years

By Andrea Babbington

A passenger jet with 234 people on board and a military aircraft were involved in the closest UK near miss for more than 20 years, it emerged today.

The jets came within 100ft of crashing over Northamptonshire, according to newspaper reports.

The Britannia Airways Boeing 757 was travelling from Birmingham to Cyprus on November 22 when the near miss happened at 10,000ft.

The other plane was said to be a US Air Force F15 based at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.

The Civil Aviation Authority said that the incident was so serious that it was referred directly to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

"The report from the pilot or the controller must have suggested it was a particularly serious incident for this to happen," said a CAA spokeswoman.

She added: "The incident took place about eight miles west of Daventry in Northamptonshire at 10.17am.

"The Boeing 757 was en route for Paphos, Cyprus and was receiving an air traffic control from London area control at West Drayton."

A spokeswoman for Britannia Airways said none of the passengers were aware of the incident because the plane was passing through a cloud at the time.