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August 14th, 2009
06:05 AM ET

FAA suspends 2 air traffic controllers over Hudson crash

(CNN) - The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended two air traffic controllers over last week's collision of two aircraft over the Hudson River that killed nine people, a spokeswoman said.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The wreckage of a plane that collided with a helicopter is lifted this week from the Hudson River."]

A controller at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport handling the flight of a Piper airplane carrying three people "was involved in apparently inappropriate conversations on the telephone at the time of the accident," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said in a statement Thursday.

A source with knowledge of the investigation said the controller was on the phone with his girlfriend "after he cleared the pilot for takeoff; he was still on the phone at the time of the crash."

In addition, "the supervisor was not present in the building as required," Brown said.

"While we have no reason to believe at this time that these actions contributed to the accident, this kind of conduct is unacceptable, and we have placed the employees on administrative leave and have begun disciplinary proceedings," she said.

"These are serious violations of the FAA regulations," said Mary Schiavo, former inspector general for the Transportation Department.

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Filed under: Transportation
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. boston

    Maybe they were afraid pf the coming pf DEATH PANELS. THEy will be called END OF LIFE CONSULTATIONS.[voluntary???]MERRY CHRISIMAS Santa is coming.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  2. Mike

    All the media stories about Air Traffic Control aside, and something the media needs to pick up on and report, is:

    1) If VFR rules were in effect, the FAA's ATC is not responsible for maintaining separation of VFR aircraft once in route

    2) Under VFR. it is the Pilot In Commands' (PIC) responsibility to maintain visual separation of aircraft.

    3) If one aircraft is overtaking the other, as in flying faster and passing, that aircraft if to maintain proper separation and to yield to the aircraft being overtaken, by staying out if its flight path

    4) A review and new procedures for flying the Hudson corridor in that vicinity are needed.

    August 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  3. Ben

    Too many people do too many personal things while on the job. The Air Traffic Controllers need to be fired for that reason only. The FAA needs to step up and make more stringent rules regarding tourist flights in metropolitan areas in the US.

    August 14, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  4. Mark

    While the air traffic controllers were not directly responsible for this accident I'm glad the FAA suspended them for doing something wrong. I think if you investigated controllers in depth you find lots of circumstances like this. They have a very responsible position and should treated as such.

    August 14, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  5. Greg

    Hogwash to the firings. Aircraft are allowed to fly unrestricted in the Hudson River corridor when below 1,000 feet. The FAA needs to either change this rule or shut down the corridor. Given the congestion of both aircraft and housing it would probably be wise to close it.

    August 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |