Air Traffic Control Failure in Washington, D.C.: What Happened?

Ironically, at the same airport where the crew aboard aircraft enforced a mandatory requirement that passengers be seated either 30 minutes before landing or thirty minutes after take-off, the Tower at Reagan National goes silent as planes attempt to land, allegedly forcing an American Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft flying in from Miami with 97 on board and a United Airlines Airbus 320 aircraft flying in from Chicago with 68 passengers and crew to land on their own. The crew of the American Airlines aircraft first attempted to abort its landing.

There is speculation that the aircraft landed without clearance because the air traffic controller — who was a supervisor — was asleep.

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