Published June 22, 2011
NEW YORK — Federal authorities are investigating a runway incident involving two jets at New York's Kennedy International Airport earlier this week.
"Cancel take off! Cancel take off plans!" yelled a frightened air controller who saw that the Munich-bound Lufthansa Airbus A340 was headed toward a collision with an Egypt Air Boeing 777 at around 6:50 p.m. Monday, The New York Post reports.
"Lufthansa 411 heavy is rejecting takeoff," the pilot radioed back.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the event involved a Lufthansa Airbus 340 and an EgyptAir Boeing 777.
Lufthansa Flight 411 was cleared for takeoff around 7 p.m.
EgyptAir Flight 986 was instructed to stay behind a "hold line," 250 feet behind the runway.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says EgyptAir crossed the line, but did not enter the runway. The air traffic controller then halted Lufthansa's takeoff.
Bergen says the Lufthansa plane stopped "a considerable distance" from the EgyptAir jet.
"Those two were coming together," radioed an unidentified pilot who witnessed the near-disaster, the New York Post reports.
A few minutes later, a pilot aboard a Virgin America flight arriving from Los Angeles piped in: "That was quite a show," according to the paper.
Investigators are listening to air traffic communications and looking at radar replay.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.