FAA investigating after Southwest plane flies 525ft above Oklahoma town

faa investigating after southwest plane flies 525ft above oklahoma town

A Southwest Airlines plane in 2023. Photograph: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Southwest Airlines fight after it flew several hundred feet above a neighborhood in Yukon, Oklahoma.

Shortly after 12am on Wednesday, Southwest flight 4069 – a Boeing 737 from Las Vegas – was approximately nine miles away from Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World airport when it dipped to approximately 525ft above Yukon, according to flight data from Flightradar24.com.

The descent prompted a low-altitude alert from an air-traffic controller. In a recording reported by LiveATC.net, an air-traffic controller can be heard saying: “Southwest 4069, low-altitude alert. You good out there?”

“Yeah, we’re going around, 4069,” the pilot responds. The air-traffic controller can then be heard instructing the pilot to ascend to an altitude of 3,000 feet. The plane eventually landed safely at the airport with no injuries reported.

Nevertheless, the low descent startled several residents including Spencer Basoco, who lives close to Yukon high school, where the flight is reported to have hit its lowest altitude, according to KFOR.

Speaking to KFOR, Basoco said: “I was kind of like halfway in between sleep being awake, and I just hear this whoosh … And I thought at first, like a storm was blowing in … because it just sounded like a wall of wind. And I looked out the window where the sound was coming from … if you go a few blocks away is the high school. And I just see a plane.”

Posting in the Yukon Happenings Facebook group, one resident wrote: “It woke me up and I thought it was gonna hit my house,” the Oklahoman reports.

Following the incident, the FAA said in a statement: “After an automated warning sounded, an air-traffic controller alerted the crew of Southwest Airlines Flight 4069 that the aircraft had descended to a low altitude nine miles away from Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.”

It added that it is investigating the incident.

In a statement reported by the Associated Press, Southwest Airlines said: “Southwest is following its robust safety management system and is in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration to understand and address any irregularities with the aircraft’s approach to the airport.”

“Nothing is more important to Southwest than the safety of our customers and employees,” the airline added.

Southwest’s latest incident follows reports of the FAA investigating another one of its flights after a Boeing 737 plunged at a rate of 4,000 feet a minute off the coast of Hawaii in April. According to a memo distributed to the airline’s pilots and reviewed by Bloomberg, the plane was en route to Honolulu from Lihue when it rapidly descended to approximately 400ft above the Pacific Ocean.

The airline had another incident in May when another Boeing 737 suffered damage to parts of its structure after it did a “Dutch roll” during a flight in May. A Dutch roll occurs when a plane’s tail slides side to side while its wings roll up and down.

The plane was bound from Phoenix, Arizona, to Oakland, California, and was flying at approximately 34,000 feet when the incident happened. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Southwest “performed maintenance on the airplane and discovered damage to structural components”.

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