Two planes involved in near-miss crash at New York’s JFK airport

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Passengers onboard a Delta flight to the Dominican Republic screamed in terror Friday night when their plane grounded to an abrupt stop after an American Airlines plane crossed into its runway.

‘There were vocal reactions,’ said Donall Brian Healy. ‘A few screams when the plane first started slowing then total silence.’

The Boeing 737 was already traveling at 115mph down a runway at New York’s JFK airport Friday night when an air traffic controller noticed that the American Airlines flight to the UK crossed from an adjacent runway right in front of the departing plane, ABC 7 reports.

It came to a safe stop with just 1,000 feet to spare before it would have crashed into the American Airlines flight, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a preliminary statement.

The flight was then forced to return to the gate, and did not take off again until the next morning.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating the incident as many questions remain unclear — including what the American Airlines pilot was doing in the lane and who is at fault.

An American Airlines plane was seen crossing the path of a Delta flight as it was about to take off. Air traffic control exclaimed ‘s***!’ as they noticed the potential collision

The two planes can be seen coming within 1,000 feet (0.3 miles) of each other before the Delta 1943 came to a halt

The two planes can be seen coming within 1,000 feet (0.3 miles) of each other before the Delta 1943 came to a halt

A Delta passenger onboard the flight told Business Insider how his fellow travelers screamed at the sudden stop.

Donall Brian Healy said the Boeing 737, carrying 145 passengers, just two to three seconds after it began accelerating down the runway, thrusting passengers forward in their seats.

Healy added that he ‘felt a surge of adrenaline knowing this was not normal and not knowing what to expect.

‘As the plane came to a stop, I realized we’d be OK — I thought it was a mechanical thing.’

Healy said the pilot actually told the passengers that another plane had passed in front of them, forcing him to abort the takeoff.

He decided to cancel his flight in the aftermath and received a full refund.

Others on board received overnight accommodations and the flight took off on Saturday morning instead.

Meanwhile, the American Airlines flight to London Heathrow arrived in the UK on time on Saturday morning.

The Delta flight eventually took off to Santa Domingo Airport in the Dominican Republic the next morning (file image)

The American Airlines flight arrived on time at London Heathrow on Saturday morning (file image)

The Delta flight eventually took off to Santa Domingo Airport in the Dominican Republic the next morning, while the American Airlines flight arrived on time at London Heathrow on Saturday morning (file images)

Audio recordings detail the swift action by an air traffic controller to keep the airlines from colliding.

‘S***! F***! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!’ he said in an audio recording of Air Traffic Control communications.

The recording was made by LiveATCa website that monitors and posts flight communications.

‘Delta 1943 say intentions,’ the controller continues, before telling the plane to taxi. The plane had previously been cleared for takeoff.

'S***!  F***!  Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!  Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!'  an air controller said in an audio recording.  Above is a file image of a plane on the runway at JFK airport

‘S***! F***! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!’ an air controller said in an audio recording. Above is a file image of a plane on the runway at JFK airport

The Delta plane had previously been cleared for takeoff and was about to depart for Santa Domingo

The Delta plane had previously been cleared for takeoff and was about to depart for Santa Domingo

What are the rules on serious incursions?

The Federal Aviation Administration has four categories of runway incursion (when a plane, vehicle or person is incorrectly on a runway).

These range from Category D (least serious) to Category A (most severe).

Category D has ‘no immediate safety consequences’, while the next stage, Category C, says there is ‘ample time and/or distance to avoid a collision’.

Category B demonstrates ‘significant potential’ for a collision.

Category A is ‘a series incident in which a collision was narrowly avoided’ – the final stage before an accident itself occurring.

The near miss on Friday 13 at JFK was defined by US Department of Transportation general Mary Schiavo as being a Category A incursion

Source: FAA

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board both announced they would start investigations into the incident.

A Delta spokesperson said in a statement it ‘will work with and assist aviation authorities on a full review of flight 1943 on Jan. 13 regarding a successful aborted takeoff procedure at New York-JFK.

‘We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.’

American Airlines would not comment on the incident and said it would defer all questions to the FAA.

Former US Department of Transportation general Mary Schiavo told CNN that the incident fell into the ‘most serious category of runway incursions’ (category A) and that such occurrences are on the rise.

John Cox, a retired pilot and professor of aviation safety at the University of Southern California, said he thought the controller ‘made a good call to reject the takeoff.’

He 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.

‘They’ll go back and listen to every transmission between the American jet and air traffic control to see who misunderstood what,’ Cox said.

People took to Twitter to express their shock and relief that nobody was hurt.

Former US Department of Transportation general Mary Schiavo told CNN that the incident fell into the 'most serious category of runway incursions' (category A) and that such occurrences are on the rise

Former US Department of Transportation general Mary Schiavo told CNN that the incident fell into the ‘most serious category of runway incursions’ (category A) and that such occurrences are on the rise

People took to Twitter to express their shock and relief that nobody was hurt - and said it could have been another Tenerife Airport disaster

People took to Twitter to express their shock and relief that nobody was hurt – and said it could have been another Tenerife Airport disaster

The Delta plane returned to the gate at JFK, where those onboard disembarked.  Pictured: File image of the entrance to New York's JFK airport

The Delta plane returned to the gate at JFK, where those onboard disembarked. Pictured: File image of the entrance to New York’s JFK airport

Pictured: A Federal Aviation Administration sign hangs in the tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York

Pictured: A Federal Aviation Administration sign hangs in the tower at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York

‘Brilliant work by ATC to recognize the incursion and cancel takeoff clearance,’ Lawrence Hunt wrote.

Zach Lowrie also said he is ‘very grateful that a tragedy was averted,’ and another Twitter user named Nathan simply wrote: ‘Great job by the ATC and Delta pilots,’

Others compared the near-miss to the infamous Tenerife Airport Disaster in 1977, when two Boeing 747 passenger jets collided on the runway of what was then called Los Rodeos Airport.

There were 583 fatalities, making it the deadliest aviation accident in history.

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