Our flight MAS MH2609 that was supposed to depart Kota Kinabalu at 4.10 p.m. was delayed for about 25 minutes. The stopover at Labuan for 30 minutes was the result of my carelessness for not reading the fine prints.Didn't notice the tiny (#1) print just below the particular flight indicating 1 stop over when I booked online.As time was of constraint did not bother to change the flight.MAS must have learned from insurance companies how to trap its costumers what they see is not what they buy.
I have been here many times but Labuan has never been my favourite town.It simply has no real attractions, no sensuality, no colour. It's a real dump, pallid and charmless, where only cheap cigarettes, cheap booze, honky-tonk bars and cheap sex the only attractions.No bona fide tourist in his right mind would go to Labuan.Its history of being a colonial outpost in days bygones left no visible relics whatsoever.
I expected the flight from Labuan to Kuala Lumpur to be quite empty and even told my wife to reassure her.This is one of the few times I hated myself for being cocksurely wrong.The almost endless stream of people boarding the plane was enough to amuse my wife that a few hours ago was fuming mad that she has to be on this plane.It amused her because I was wrong.It was packed like sardines.
The flight took off smoothly although there were low clouds everywhere during the ascend.
Almost 50 minutes out of Labuan and looking out of the window I told my wife how beautiful those clouds were adorned with reflection of the setting sun giving them a golden tinge.Flying in westerly direction we were actually chasing the sunset. Good God! Next moment, another jet plane, much smaller than the Boeing 737 that we were on passed split second just below the wing tip of our plane going in the opposite direction.
It gave my wife and I the biggest jolt of our life and we exclaimed so loudly we actually woke up our fellow passenger in the next seat.Being frequent flyer and knowing some aviation rules I know that was almost a disaster.I hope I was wrong in my assumption.
I hope the captain of MAS flight 2409, if he is aware of the near miss or close call, unless his radar did not pick up the other flying object, has lodged a report with the Civil Aviation Department to investigate.It happened at about 6.45 p.m. on 29 June, Labuan to KL Flight MH2609 and the other aircraft looked like a private jet.
A near miss, a close call or near collision are terms used when aircraft passed each other too close for comfort.
Commercial airliners are considered dangerously close if they are one mile apart.A quarter of a mile apart or less is a "near miss" and more or less on a collision course and what we saw was pretty pretty close. Normally, three miles is the minimum separation in some airspace.
(I have reported by email the incident to the DG of the Department of Civil Aviation to determine whether the incident has been reported or was I wrong in my assumption what construes a 'near miss' ?)
Unfortunately, the email bounced back.