Accident Cut Lines to Air Traffic Controllers in Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN - The Federal Aviation Administration halted all departures from Memphis International Airport for an hour after a contractor accidentally cut phone lines in the basement of an air traffic control tower.

The accident cut off communication between controllers in two locations, so they could not hand planes off to one another.  They were not prevented from communicating with planes in the air.

All flights out were halted about 4 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday while repairs took place.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the agency will investigate.

The last big outage happened on September 25 when the air traffic center lost three radar sites as well as telephone communications.

Controllers in Memphis are responsible for flights within roughly a 250-mile radius of the city.

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