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Near Miss Between 2 Jets At JFK; Frantic Controllers Caught On Tape

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JFK Airport (credit: CBS 2)

JFK Airport (credit: CBS 2)

diamond_feature Marla Diamond
I began my career at WCBS in the fall of 1997 as the station's New...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a scary near miss at JFK Monday night.

Lufthansa Flight 411 was cleared for takeoff and EgyptAir Flight 986 was instructed to stay behind a “hold line,” 250 feet behind the runway, at 6:50 p.m., FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the Associated Press. The EgyptAir failed to stay behind the line, but did not enter the runway, she said.

A quick-thinking air traffic controller made a frantic call to the Lufthansa plane to stop.

“No! Whoa-whoa-whoa-whoa!” someone in the tower can be heard shouting as the EgyptAir plane crosses the hold-short line, according to LiveATC.net.

“Cancel takeoff! Cancel takeoff plans!

“Lufthansa 411 heavy is rejecting takeoff,” a pilot responded.

“All traffic is stopped right now,” a controller announced.

The FAA said the EgyptAir pilot was responsible for the close call because he failed to turn as instructed.

Stunned pilots, who witnessed the near-accident from above, were relieved.

“Those two were coming together,” an unidentified pilot is heard saying.

“That was quite a show. We thought it was going to be a short career,” a pilot of a nearby Virgin America plane said.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Frightening Incident

Airport officials wouldn’t say how close the planes came to colliding, but Bergen told the AP the Lufthansa jet stopped “a considerable distance” from the EgyptAir jet.

The Lufthansa jet had been carrying 286 passengers and crew.

There was no word on how many people were aboard the EgyptAir flight, but a Boeing 777 can carry 346 passengers and crew. Both airliners later took off on their planned flights.

Back in April, an Airbus superjumbo jet spun a smaller commuter jet like a top when it clipped it while taxiing at JFK.

Overall, though, runway incursions nationwide are down. According to an FAA safety report, there were 1,009 incidents in 2008. In 2009, that number dropped to 951.

Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.

What can be done to make air travel safer? Sound off in our comments section below…

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