Two passenger jets came within about 1,000 feet of each other on a Kennedy Airport runway after one aircraft crossed another's path as it attempted to take off, the FAA said.
The Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900 bound for Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic came to a stop after air traffic controllers noticed London-bound American Airlines Flight 106 crossing its path Friday about 8:45 p.m. on the runway from an adjacent taxiway, according to a statement provided by the Federal Aviation Administration.
"(Expletive)! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!" an air controller said in an audio recording of Air Traffic Control communications when he noticed the American Airlines plane crossing in front. The recording was made by LiveATC, a website that monitors and posts flight communications.
The Delta plane then came to a "safe stop" on Runway 4-left as the American plane crossed about 1,000 feet in front, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
The Delta plane was diverted back to the gate where passengers deplaned, Delta said in a statement. The flight was then delayed overnight due to “crew resources” and departed at 10:17 a.m. Saturday, Delta said. The 145 passengers and six crew members on board were provided with overnight accommodations, according to the airline.
Delta in a statement said it would work with authorities to investigate the incident.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” the airline said.
The American flight left on schedule, arriving in London 13 minutes early, according to FlightAware.com, the flight tracking website.
American deferred comment to the FAA.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board said they will investigate the incident.
John Cox, a retired pilot and professor of aviation safety at the University of Southern California, said the rejected takeoff safety maneuver, which is when pilots stop the aircraft and discontinue the takeoff, is one they are "very, very familiar with."
"Pilots practice rejected takeoff almost every time they get to the simulator," he said.
He said the FAA and the NTSB will "go back and listen to every transmission between the American jet and air traffic control to see who misunderstood what." With AP