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FAA investigates Southwest close call with fireworks mortar

The US FAA has posted air traffic control audio tapes revealing a near miss between a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 and a fireworks mortar the night of 10 July.

A pilot on Southwest Flight 735, inbound to the Greenville-Spartanburg international airport in South Carolina at approximately 22:00, told controllers shortly after landing about two problems that occurred on the approach - a possible bird strike over the threshold and a "fireworks mortar" that exploded near the aircraft at 400-500ft AGL on final approach.

"We saw the fireworks coming in and then they seemed to have ceased; we thought they were stopping just as a courtesy to us," the pilot told controllers. "And then, ah, just there probably about five, four hundred feet, one went off [near our] right wing, real close to the aircraft."

Airport officials say police officers sent to the residential area where the fireworks would have been launched did not find evidence of the activities.

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