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Planes Clip Wings On Newark Airport Runway

Plane Crash, generic story image, 020320, GD.
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A plane leaving a terminal at a major New York-area airport clipped wings with another plane being towed to a hangar for service on a taxiway Tuesday evening, the head of the air traffic controller's union said.

The incident at Newark Liberty International Airport comes as federal officials examine how a jetliner carrying more than 160 people landed on a taxiway instead of an adjacent runway at the same airport Saturday night.

In the Tuesday accident, an outbound Lufthansa Boeing 747 clipped the right wing of a Continental Boeing 757, said Russ Halleran, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association local at the airport.

None of the Lufthansa flight's 291 passengers and 17 crew members were injured in the collision, according to Lufthansa spokeswoman Jennifer Urbaniak.

The flight was bound for Frankfurt, Germany. The Lufthansa plane returned to the gate and the airline was making arrangements for the passengers to take another flight, Urbaniak said.

There also were no injuries Saturday when the Continental Flight from Orlando, Fla., landed on a taxiway instead of a runway. Taxiways often have planes, vehicles or personnel on them.

The FAA had not interviewed the pilot and co-pilot as of Tuesday, but Continental Airlines Inc. said both pilots had been grounded.

"The pilots have been temporarily removed from flying duties and are assisting the company in analyzing the incident," Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark said.

It will likely be months before the FAA determines if any members of the crew will be charged, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr. Since 1975, there have been at least eight documented cases in the U.S. in which a pilot landed on a taxiway and was charged. The most recent case was in 2002.

Although weather will be considered as a factor, the weather was clear at the time of the landing, despite being poor earlier in the day.

All navigational equipment and lights at the airport were working, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.