FAA investigating after planes nearly collide in close-call landing at Austin airport
AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The Federal Aviation Administration said it was looking into an incident where a plane coming in to land almost collided with another aircraft cleared to take off at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Saturday.
It happened when a FedEx cargo plane nearly landed on a runway where a Southwest flight was preparing to take off. An animation created by Flightradar24 shows how close the planes were to crashing.
But the FedEx pilot stopped the landing and “initiated a climb out,” FAA officials said in a statement. The plane rose up again just before it was set to land.
“At the closest point horizontally, the aircraft were less than 1000 feet apart, but we do not have same-time data points in order to calculate an exact figure,” writes Flightradar24.
The Southwest plane continued its departure safely and took off.
The National Transportation Safety Board initially tweeted about a “possible runway incursion and overflight” that involved a Southwest Airlines plane and a FedEx cargo plane.
In an initial statement, the FAA said preliminary information found FedEx Flight 1432 had been cleared to land on Runway 18-Left at AUS around 6:40 a.m. Saturday morning. That FedEx flight was cleared for its landing while the plane was still several miles from the airport.
Shortly before its expected landing, the controller cleared Southwest Flight 708 to depart from the same runway, per the FAA.
“The FAA is investigating the incident,” agency officials said.
The FedEx plane was a Boeing 767 cargo airplane model, while the Southwest Airlines flight was a Boeing 737 model.
In a statement, a FedEx spokesperson said the company’s cargo flight from Memphis, Tennessee, landed safely in Austin after “encountering an event just before landing.” The plane was able to circle around and land 12 minutes later, according to Flightradar 24.
The FAA announced another investigation last month after a plane nearly crossed a runway where another flight was preparing to take off at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. “(Expletive)! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!” an air controller could be heard saying in an audio recording.
The takeoff was rejected and there was no collision.
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