Two planes nearly collide at US airport amid spate of near-misses

The JetBlue flight was preparing to take off down the runway when it almost crossed path with another flight  (Getty Images)
The JetBlue flight was preparing to take off down the runway when it almost crossed path with another flight (Getty Images)

Two airplanes experienced a near miss after almost colliding on the runway before tower control intervened and frantically yelled at both planes to “stop”!

Recordings from air traffic control revealed the moment when the controllers realised that a JetBlue Airways flight and a Southwestern plane were on course to possibly crash into each other at Reagan National Airport in Virginia on Thursday morning.

One controller had cleared JetBlue Flight 1554 to start taking off at around 7.40am but, at the same time, another controller appeared to tell Southwest Flight 2937 to go across the very same runway, according to audio obtained by YouTube channel VASAviation.

The JetBlue flight started to make its way down the runway when the Southwest plane almost crossed its path.

After 30 seconds, the controllers realised that both planes were on course to collide and shouted over the audio feeds for the aircraft to stop.

“JetBlue 1554 stop! 1554 stop!” the tower controller yelled out, with the ground controller immediately after shouting, “Southwest, stop! Southwest 2937, stop!”

The Southwest airline pilot replied to the frenzied shouting: “We stopped. We were cleared to cross Runway 4.”

The JetBlue pilot also reported to the controllers that they were stopping on the runway, terminating their takeoff.

The two planes came within 400 feet of each other, according to FlightRadar data seen by CNN.

After avoiding what could have been a catastrophic incident, the JetBlue flight taxied away from the runway and later took off for Boston Logan.

The airline said that their flight out of Reagan National Airport had an “aborted take-off due to another aircraft attempting to cross the runway”, adding that their aircraft was inspected and then took off to their destination, according to the outlet.

The Southwest plane was directed to continue taxiing across the runway towards a second runway, where it took out on its way to Orlando.

Southwest said to the outlet that they are aware of the incident and are working with the Federal Aviation Administration to “fully understand the incident”.

The FAA said that it would investigate the incident.

“An air traffic controller instructed Southwest Airlines Flight 2937 to cross Runway 4 at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport while JetBlue Flight 1554 was starting its takeoff roll on the same runway,” the FAA told The Independent in a statement.

This incident is one of many close calls that happen every year, with a report by The New York Times published in August 2023, claiming that near misses are more common than people think.

The report claimed that only three of the 313 air traffic facilities nationwide had enough controllers to meet FAA targets as of May 2023, with many of them having to work six-day weeks, causing fatigue that can impede the controllers’ “abilities to do their jobs properly”, the outlet said.

The Independent has contacted both airlines for comment.