FAA pulls two employees from duty

The Associated PressAugust 14, 2009 

Authorities have removed from duty an air traffic controller who they say was talking on the phone during last week's deadly midair collision over New York's Hudson River, along with a supervisor who was out of the building at the time.

The Federal Aviation Administration said late Thursday that while there was no reason to believe thus far that the employees' actions contributed to the accident, which killed nine people, such "conduct is unacceptable." Air traffic controllers are expected to be alert at all times while on duty and typically are given about a 15-minute break every two hours for that reason.

The employees, who were not identified, were placed on administrative leave with pay. The FAA said it has begun disciplinary proceedings against the controller.

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