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Recording captures moment pilot slams on brakes to avoid crash that could have killed hundreds

Dominic Smithers

Published 
| Last updated 

Recording captures moment pilot slams on brakes to avoid crash that could have killed hundreds

Featured Image Credit: Flightradar24/Allen Creative/Steve Allen/Alamy

A full recording from the moment two planes almost crashed into one another on a runway has been released.

The incredibly close call occurred between at JFK International Airport last Friday (13 January). See how it unfolded:

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A Boeing 777 headed to the UK and a Boeing 737 headed to the Dominican Republic were set for take-off and were taxiing along the runway when they almost collided.

In the audio file above, you can hear the two pilots speaking with air traffic controllers (ATC), who are managing the situation.

One of the planes, Delta Airlines, can be seen heading down the runway marked '4L', approaching the end as it looks to make a u-turn.

In the distance, the second aircraft, American Airlines, is seen being directed back down towards the same runaway, '4L'.

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And this is where things appear to go wrong.

The two flights were getting ready for take-off. Credit: YouTube/JFK International Airport
The two flights were getting ready for take-off. Credit: YouTube/JFK International Airport

As the first plane comes round, and heads back on itself up '4L' in order to make its ascent, the second plane cuts across, going right in front of its path.

In a desperate attempt to stop an horrific accident, the ATCs can be heard telling the plane to abort its take-off.

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"S**t!" one of them shouts.

Fortunately, both pilots manage to miss one another and evade such a disaster, stopping within just 1,000 feet of each other.

The pilots and the ATCs then agree to go back over the recording to try and find out how it all went so wrong.

The Delta Airlines flight was carrying 145 passengers and six crew members, while the American Airlines aircraft had 137 passengers and 14 crew members onboard.

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They had to abort their take-off. Credit: YouTube/JFK International Airport
They had to abort their take-off. Credit: YouTube/JFK International Airport

Speaking after the incident, a Delta passenger said their heart was in their mouth when they saw the other plane up ahead.

Brian Healy told NBC News: "It was like a split second of panic that resulted in this audible reaction on the plane.

"I felt the adrenaline and there was total quiet on the plane and then there was relief when the plane came to a stop."

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John Cox, a retired pilot, speculated the near miss could have been due to a 'miscommunication between the American crew and the air traffic controllers', telling NBC: "This happens occasionally where there will be a misunderstanding about an air traffic control clearance and somebody will end up having to reject a takeoff."

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now launched an investigation into the near miss.

A spokesperson fro the National Transportation Safety Board also confirmed the body would be looking into it.

Topics: News, US News, Travel

Dominic Smithers
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