Near miss on DC airport runway spurs FAA investigation

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it will investigate a near miss on the runway of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport outside Washington, D.C. Thursday morning, in which one plane nearly crosses into a runway as the other was taking off.

According to an emailed statement from the FAA, an air traffic controller instructed a Southwest flight to cross one of the runways while a JetBlue flight was “starting its takeoff roll on the same runway.”

The incident happened Thursday around 7:41 a.m. local time. The near-miss happened between Southwest Flight 2937 and JetBlue Flight 1554, the FAA said.

Audio posted on YouTube shows air traffic controllers telling the planes to stop. The video, posted by VASAViation, said the Southwest flight was about 65 feet away from entering the runway, and about 300 ft from the JetBlue plane, first reported by NBC News.

The near collision has come after many other flight-related incidents have occurred in the last several months, prompting the FAA to investigate.

In mid-January, the FAA said it was investigating a ground collision at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Transportation officials and police have launched investigations into the communication between air traffic control and two planes after a fiery collision left five people dead in Japan in early January.

An investigative report by The New York Times published last August found that after reviewing FAA safety reports, there was an alarming pattern of safety lapses and near-misses in the skies and on runways in the United States. While no major crashes have occurred, the Times noted that the potentially dangerous incidents are happening more frequently than previously thought.

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