Two planes nearly collided at Chicago’s Midway Airport Tuesday night, creating a harrowing near-miss as the two aircraft approached each other on intersecting runways, the Daily Mail is reporting.
At about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday night, Delta Airlines Flight 1328, bound for Atlanta, and Southwest Airlines Flight 3828, bound for Tulsa, both began “rolling” (that is, making their way down the runway for takeoff). The Delta plane was heading northeast on a runway oriented from southwest to northeast, while the Southwest plane was heading northwest on a runway oriented southeast to northwest. The two runways intersect in the middle.
Only the Southwest flight had been cleared for takeoff, however, according to CBS Chicago. When a panicked air traffic controller (ATC) noticed that planes were on a collision course, he frantically ordered the Delta aircraft to stop.
“ATC: (inaudible)…1328 stop! Stop! Stop!
DELTA PILOT: 1328, Stopping
ATC: 1328 make the right turn on to uh, taxiway Delta, right turn to Delta, hold short runway four-right.
ATC: You keep answering for each other, it’s Southwest 3828 and Delta 1328…
SW PILOT 11:12: Southwest 3828
ATC: Go ahead sir.
SW PILOT: …were we the ones clear for take-off?
ATC: Yessir, you were, you were the one – you were doing what you were supposed to be doing.
SW PILOT: …Delta was rolling also?
ATC: Yes…he took your call sign, somebody kept stepping on ya, trying to figure out who it was and then, that’s why I reiterated that it was you that I was clearing for take-off.”
Audio of the air traffic controller’s conversation with the Southwest pilot is provided below. You can hear the controller frantically yelling “Stop! Stop!” beginning at about :50.
The Southwest pilot stopped his aircraft as well, and both planes came to a stop within about 2,000 feet of each other.
Commercial pilot and aircraft enthusiast Rob Mark said, in comments made available via CBS, that a collision between the two planes would have been “catastrophic.”
“Just knowing that there were two aircraft of that size headed to the same intersection at the same time … this could have been catastrophic.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be investigating why the two planes nearly collided, according to a statement.
“The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident that occurred shortly before 7:40 p.m. Tuesday at Chicago Midway Airport.”
Nobody on board either of the two planes that nearly collided were injured, and both planes eventually made it to their destinations without incident.
[Image courtesy of: Shutterstock / Jaromir Chalabala]