Two Israel Air Force fighter jets came “dangerously close” to the Ryanair passenger plane, which had 162 passengers on board, close to Ovda Airport, some 60 kilometers (37 miles) north of the southern resort town of Eilat, Army Radio reported.
The incident occurred at 27,000 feet. The Ryanair pilots prevented a crash by changing course at the last moment, Channel 2 reported, citing the speedy and effective reaction of the Ryanair cockpit to the danger.
But Ryanair denied the “false and invented” reports of a near-miss:
“This flight from Krakow to Eilat Ovda (1 Mar) was cruising at 27,000 ft in Israeli airspace when two military aircraft (over 3 miles away) were noticed by the crew ascending towards the Ryanair aircraft flight path. The crew notified local ATC and the military aircraft descended away from the Ryanair jet, which continued on to Eilat Ovda and landed without incident,” it said.
Four fighter jets were engaged in the exercise; two of them flew from east to west across the civilian airliner’s path.