'Near miss' after 'instructions given to wrong plane'

Stansted Airport Image copyright BAA Ltd
Image caption The Boeing 737 was heading away from Stansted while the Boeing 777 was heading towards Stansted

A near miss involving two passenger planes off the Essex coast happened after instructions were given to the wrong aircraft, an inquiry has found.

The planes came within 700ft (200m) of each other before the mistake was corrected on 1 April.

A UK Airprox report said the incident involved a Boeing 737 leaving Stansted and a Stansted-inbound Boeing 777.

It said the controller instructed the "wrong aircraft", leading it to "climb into confliction" with the B777.

The B737 pilot told the investigation the risk of collision during the episode in the skies north-east of Southend had been "medium high".

The report concluded the air traffic controller in the London control centre mistakenly transposed call signs and gave the instruction to the wrong aircraft.

The inquiry found at the time of the airprox, defined as a situation where safety of an aircraft is compromised, the "controller's workload was high".

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