Radar shows how planes came within 75ft of collision in runway blunder

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The series of mistakes that almost led to two planes crashing into each other have been revealed in newly released audio.

A FedEx cargo plane was attempting to land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas on Saturday, just as a passenger flight was taking off from the same runway.

Images from Flight Radar show the delivery plane bearing down on the Southwest Airlines jet until it is directly above it.

Clips from air traffic control show the departing flight, which was heading to Cancun in Mexico, had been cleared for take off from the 18 left runway.

The pilot was informed that a FedEx plane was on the way and due to land on the same strip. At that point, the cargo jet was about three miles away.

But the Southwest plane remained on the runway as the Boeing 767 gets closer, prompting a controller to ask if it was going to take off soon.

The pilot responds: ‘Rolling now.’

Travel Weekly reports that as the Southwest flight was preparing to depart, the FedEx flight initiated a go-around.

In the audio recording, a male voice – presumably the FedEx pilot – can be heard telling the passenger plane to ‘abort’ its takeoff, adding: ‘FedEx is on the go.’

However, the Southwest crew replies ‘negative’ and take off with the cargo plane above it – at the closest point, less than 75 vertical feet away.

The delivery plane veered away and climbed to 3,000 feet before air traffic control directed it to a more successful landing.

Towards the end of the audio, the tower can be heard apologising to the FedEx pilot and thanking them for their professionalism in a nerve-racking situation.

The incident is now under investigation by the US Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

It comes less than a month after another near-miss at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, where a Delta plane almost collided with an American Airlines flight as they were both taxiing on the runway.

The Delta aircraft turned onto the same runway the other was taking off from, after an error by air traffic control.

The tower at JFK was less level-headed than in Austin, with one controller yelling: ‘S**t! Oh, f**k!’

Fortunately, the Delta pilot slammed on the brakes in time to avoid catastrophe, though the planes came within 1,000 feet of each other.

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