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Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Takes Off From Closed Runway and Flies Over Airport Ground Vehicle Still On The Runway in Portland

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 Takes Off From Closed Runway and Flies Over Airport Ground Vehicle Still On The Runway in Portland

a blue airplane in the sky

A packed Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 reportedly took off from a closed runway at Portland International Jetport (PWM) in Maine on Tuesday and narrowly avoided colliding with an airport ground vehicle that was carrying out an inspection of the runway before it was due to open.

The early morning incident occurred on June 25 when Southwest Flight 4805 to Baltimore was preparing for departure from the airport which has two intersecting runways.

At the time of Southwest Flight 4805’s scheduled departure at 5:40 am, only one of the two runways was open to air traffic. Somehow, the pilots of the 19-year-old Boeing 737 took off from runway 29 at 05:43 am – just two minutes before the runway was officially due to open.

Before officially opening the runway for the day, an airport ground vehicle was carrying out an inspection of the surface to ensure it was safe to use and it was still on the runway when the Southwest flight took off over it.

The incident came to light when the driver of the ground vehicle contacted the control tower to ask them why the Southwest plane had been allowed to take off on a closed runway. The air traffic controller responded that they had never spoken to the pilots.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines told us: “Southwest Airlines is engaged with the NTSB and FAA to understand the circumstances of an early morning Southwest departure on Tuesday, June 25, of Flight 4805 from Portland International Jetport. After departure, the aircraft continued safely to its destination.”

Just days before this near-miss accident, a Southwest Airlines airplane flying from Las Vegas to Oklahoma City somehow descended to just 500 feet above ground level while still nine miles out from landing at OKC airport.

The six-year-old aircraft ‘buzzed’ a residential neighborhood after descending to a dangerously low altitude, prompting a traffic control to issue a ‘low altitude alert’ to the pilots.

At the end of May, a third Southwest Airlines airplane experienced a so-called Dutch Roll during a flight from Phoenix to Oakland, causing enough damage to keep the aircraft grounded in Oakland for several days before being flown to Everett for further repairs.

The Boeing 737MAX is still being fixed in Everett more than three weeks after going into maintenance.

Thankfully, none of the 175 passengers and six crew members onboard were injured as the airplane experienced the Dutch Roll at 34,000 feet.

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