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#1 Oct 17, 2017 10:43 am

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Near miss over Botswana

It was an Air Botswana flight from Gaborone to Johannesburg, on one of their ATR turbo-prop aircraft. The weather was bad; we had been under heavy cloud cover from the minute we took off. The seat belt sign remained on and all in-flight services were cancelled, everyone nervous but trying not to show it. It was a bumpy ride, every now and then we’d hit a big dipper that would make your stomach go ooh.

I was sitting at a right side window seat, idly looking out into the grey clouds, almost zero visibility. All of the sudden the plane lurched upwards and right at that moment, a jet plane of some description passed at right angles, just a few hundred feet below us; so close I could read the aircraft number on the tail wing. That was close! I tapped the shoulder of the passenger in front and asked if he had seen that.

“Yes, I fuckingwell did!” came the startled reply. A little while later the captain made an announcement:

“Ah, for those of you on the right side of the plane who may have just witnessed that other aircraft, there’s nothing to worry about, the other plane was at least five hundred feet beneath us.”

Five hundred feet? That’s not much, we could drop that much in one of those dips! When we filed off the plane at Joburg the pilot looked a bit sheepish as he wished us well - and got a few earfuls in return!

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