Close call! Packed planes nearly collide on JFK runway

Close call! Packed planes nearly collide on JFK runway

An investigation is ongoing after there was a close call between a plane that was crossing the runway and another flight preparing for take-off at JFK airport last week.

Both planes were full of passengers, according to CBS New York.

“(Expletive)! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel take-off clearance!” an air controller said when he noticed the other plane, and American Airlines flight, crossing in front of the path of a Delta Air Lines’ Boeing 737.

Panic could be heard in the air controller’s voice at the time, CBS New York reported.

The Delta plane came to a stop on the runway as the other crossed in front. The Delta aircraft was heading to the Dominican Republic and had 145 passengers and six crew on board, while the American Airlines Boeing 777 had 137 passengers and 14 crew members and was flying to the United Kingdom.

The Delta plane stopped a few hundred metres before the American Airlines plane and returned to the gate, where its passengers got off the aircraft and were given overnight accommodation.

A passenger on the Delta flight, Brian Heale, said he mistook the abrupt halt as a mechanical issue.

“There was this abrupt jerk of the plane, and everyone was sort of thrust forward from the waist,” Heale said.

“There was an audible reaction when the brakes happened, like a gasp. And then there was a total silence for a couple of seconds.”

Heale said he only realised the gravity of the situation when he was scrolling Twitter the next day.

“The pilot made the call to only share information on a need-to-know basis, and that was absolutely the right call, because it would’ve been pandemonium,” he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the incident.

Delta said in a statement that it “will work with and assist aviation authorities on a full review of flight 1943 on Jan. 13 regarding a successful aborted take-off procedure at New York-JFK. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.”

American Airlines said on Monday in a statement that “the safety of our customers and team members is our top priority. We are conducting a full internal review and cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation.”

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