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Potential runway crash averted at JFK, officials say

Takeoff clearance was canceled at JFK, shown here

Takeoff clearance was canceled at JFK, shown here in a file photo, to avoid a potential crash Friday, officials said Sunday. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

A quick-thinking air traffic controller canceled takeoff clearance at Kennedy Airport for a Colombia-bound Delta flight Friday evening, preventing a potential crash with another Delta flight that had just arrived at JFK from St. Maarten, officials said Sunday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating the incident. Delta also is investigating, according to an airline spokeswoman.

The FAA said in a statement Sunday that Flight 253 to Bogota was beginning its takeoff roll on Runway 22 as Flight 300 from St. Maarten crossed the runway. The air traffic controller quickly canceled the takeoff clearance for Flight 253, which stopped and taxied off the runway.

The planes were more than a mile — 6,400 feet — apart when Flight 300 crossed the runway. The flight from St. Maarten taxied to the gate and passengers departed normally. Flight 253 departed later for Bogota.

Delta did not immediately return requests for comment.

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