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Controller blamed for LAX mid-air close call

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

January 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
A close call between two planes on approach to L.A. International Airport is being blamed on an air traffic controller's mistake.The Federal Aviation Administration says a commuter plane got too close to a Boeing 767 heading in to the airport last week.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor reports an American Eagle Embraer E 135 came within three miles of the tail of a Chilean-based LAN Airlines plane on January 19.

Pilots are required to be five miles apart so smaller planes can avoid wake turbulence that can send them out of control.

Gregor called the error "serious" but said there was no imminent danger on the smaller plane. A spokesman for the controllers union says the controllers are overworked and understaffed. Gregor says the error was not caused by understaffing.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.