Triple Plane Crash Averted at Last Minute in DC

FAA investigating
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2012 12:04 AM CDT
Updated Aug 2, 2012 5:10 AM CDT
Triple Plane Crash Averted at Last Minute in DC
A near disaster occurred at the Ronald Reagan National Airport as air traffic controllers attempted to redirect flights to avoid a storm.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Federal investigators are probing a near-midair collision of three commuter jets at Washington's Reagan National Airport that was averted at the last minute. The jets were seconds away from crashing after air traffic controllers launched two outbound flights directly into the path of a third plane coming in to land on Tuesday, reports the Washington Post.

The three planes, all operated by US Airways, were carrying 192 passengers and crew. No one was injured. The misdirections occurred as controllers changed flight paths to avoid an incoming storm. The planes were some 12 seconds from impact when an air traffic controller spotted the impending crash and redirected the planes. The FAA is investigating. The error was one of several thousand made by controllers across the nation in several years, notes the Post, with the National airport being the site of some of the worst. (More Ronald Reagan National Airport stories.)

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