Airliner Dives To Avoid Fighters

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Some Air Force fighters that might have been fleeing Hurricane Isabel apparently narrowly missed a disaster of a different sort last Wednesday. An American Airlines airliner on its way to St. Louis from Oklahoma City dove to avoid a flight of three or four military aircraft near Tulsa, according to airline spokeswoman Julia Bishop-Cross. "The pilot took the plane off autopilot, the system went off again and ordered a descent," she told The Associated Press. "He descended 50 to 100 feet, then saw three or four jet fighters, military aircraft." Three flight attendants and two passengers were slightly injured. The plane flew on to St. Louis. FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said he had heard that F-15s were involved but he couldn't confirm that. There were also reports that about 70 military aircraft, including F-15s, were moved from Seymour Johnson AFG in North Carolina to Tinker AFB in Oklahoma on the same day but it's not known if any of those aircraft were involved. Some passengers were shaken up by the sudden maneuvering of the airliner. Billy Jack Charrick said the sudden dive felt like turbulence at first, then suddenly, "I got coffee on me and I am on the roof of the airplane." The FAA is still investigating.