A FedEx cargo plane attempting to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas averted crashing into a Southwest Airlines commercial flight after the latter was cleared to takeoff from the same runway, officials.
As the FedEx plane made its descent Saturday morning, it was forced to abort its landing and “initiated a climb out,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.
The FAA said the Boeing 767 cargo airplane was given the ok to land while it was still miles away from the airport, but just as it was expected to land, air traffic control cleared the Southwest flight to depart.
According to the flight tracking website FlightAware, the FedEx plane had dipped to an altitude of just 150 feet at 6:40 a.m. before it was forced to quickly ascend again. The plane landed at the airport at 6:51 a.m., according to FlightAware.
Shannon Davis, a spokesperson for FedEx, said in an emailed statement, “FedEx Express Flight 1432 from Memphis, Tenn. to Austin, Texas safely landed after encountering an event just before landing at Austin Bergstrom International Airport this morning.”
The Southwest flight was also able to depart safely, according to the FAA. It’s not clear how many passengers were on board.
The National Transportation Safety Board described the scary situation as “possible runway incursion and overflight involving airplanes from Southwest Airlines and FedEx.”
The Austin-Bergstrom International told the Associated Press in a statement that it was “aware of the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation into the discontinued landing of a flight.”
The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash.
A similar near-miss situation happened at New York City’s JFK airport last month when one plane crossed onto the runway as the another was about to take off.
An American Airlines jetliner crossed onto the runway from an adjacent taxiway just as a Delta Air Lines plane was about to take off, forcing the Delta pilot to slam on the brakes to avoid tragedy. The plane carrying over 150 people stopped just 1,000 feet away from the American Airlines aircraft, CNN reported.
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