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‘Go around!’ FAA investigates a close call between a plane and LaGuardia’s air traffic control tower

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why a Southwest Airlines plane veered off course and had a close call with an air traffic control tower during an attempted landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the agency said Thursday.

The incident happened around 1 p.m. on March 23 when Southwest Flight 147 aborted its first approach to the airport because of bad weather.

“Go around! Go around,” the air traffic controller is heard saying on ATC radio communication.

“Continue climbing,” the air traffic controller said about 12 seconds later. “You were — not on the approach.”

Southwest Airlines said the flight encountered turbulence and low visibility as it approached LaGuardia. The company said it is looking into the incident.

“We are reviewing the event as part of our Safety systems,” Southwest said in a written statement.

The flight was diverted to Baltimore, where it landed safely, the FAA said.

The incident comes as the FAA has launched several investigations into near-collisions at US airports since last year.

An expert panel assembled to address the issue identified multiple issues contributing to the incidents, including inconsistent funding, outdated technology, short-staffed air traffic control towers and onerous training requirements.

The panel’s report, issued in November, provided FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker with a roadmap for changes and upgrades.

“The confluence of the issues we identified results in an erosion of safety margins that must be urgently addressed,” the report said.

The panel was assembled after an emergency FAA safety summit in March 2023 that brought together regulators and industry groups after multiple high-profile runway incursions were reported at large US airports.

“We are particularly concerned because we have seen an uptick in serious close calls,” US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said at the time.

Still, commercial plane crashes are very rare. About 45,000 flights take place each day in the US with no fatalities.

CNN’s Pete Muntean and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

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