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FAA investigating after 2 planes nearly collide on JFK runway

Investigation underway after 2 planes nearly collide at JFK
Investigation underway after 2 planes nearly collide at JFK 01:57

NEW YORK -- There was a close call on Friday at John F. Kennedy International Airport after two planes full of passengers nearly collided.

Federal aviation and transportation officials are investigating what went wrong.

In audio obtained by CBS News, panic is heard from an air traffic controller as he orders Delta Flight 1943 to stop.

The pilot aborted the takeoff and abruptly slowed down the plane, avoiding a runway collision with American Airlines Flight 106.

Delta's Boeing 737 carrying 145 passengers and six crew members was headed to the Dominican Republic from New York. The 137 passengers and 14 crew members on board American's Boeing 777 were flying to the United Kingdom.

CBS News transportation safety analyst Robert Sumwalt, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said, "What we know so far is that the American Airlines 777 was apparently instructed to taxi to runway 4 left. It appears that that airplane did not make the right turn, but instead continued across an active runway."

Minutes after Friday's near collision, audio captured the American Airlines pilot checking in with air traffic control.

American pilot: "The last clearance we were given, we were cleared to cross is that, correct?"

ATC: "American 106 heavy, we're departing runway 4 left. I guess we'll listen to the tapes, but you're supposed to depart runway 4 left. You're currently holding short of runway 31 left."

American Airlines declined to comment about the near collision. Delta Air Lines said safety is a top priority, adding it is assisting aviation authorities on a full review.

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