Passengers recall Spirit flight's close call

Detroit Metro Airport flight has to swerve to avoid other plane

By Roger Weber - Reporter

DETROIT - Passengers aboard Spirit Airlines Flight 313 say they thought they were going to crash as their pilot made a steep dive to avoid another plane.

The incident happened Sunday evening over Lenawee County.

Read more: Jet dives to avoid small plane while over SE Michigan

"We just started diving and dropping and swerving," said Nancy Roy, who was returning to Texas after visiting friends in Michigan. "It was pretty apparent that we were trying to avoid something."

The FAA says the Airbus was 1.6 miles from a small plane carrying skydivers. The jetliner dove 1600 feet after getting a warning from a collision avoidance system in the cockpit.

"Everybody was screaming. This girl two rows ahead of me with red hair, her hair flew up," said Roy. She says two flight attendants bumped their heads on the ceiling, but apparently were not seriously injured.

Spirit Airlines says its pilots followed "appropriate procedures."

Franz Gerschwiler, who owns Skydive Tecumseh, says his pilot was "absolutely in the correct position.

Both planes were flying around 14,000 feet. Gerschwiler believes there may have been a miscommunication between air traffic control and the jetliner.

"We know we were given permission in the right place and right time, so something went wrong at the other end," he said.

His nine skydivers were still able to make their jumps. Flight 313 landed safely at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

"When we landed everybody applauded," said Roy. "We were grateful to still be here."

An FAA spokesperson says investigators will need several weeks before concluding what went wrong.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.