Two passenger planes narrowly avoided a mid-air collision at Newark Liberty airport in New Jersey last month, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.
Neither plane was damaged during the incident.
The report shows that when the Memphis flight was cleared for takeoff, the incoming Boeing 737 was three miles away. But when the Embraer began its takeoff, the San Francisco flight was only a mile from landing on intersecting runway 29.
Realising that the planes were too close, the air traffic controller warned the pilots, instructing the 737 from San Francisco to "go around" – that is, to abort its landing – and for the Embraer to maintain visual contact with it.
A pilot of the flight to Memphis told air traffic controllers he was going to "keep the aircraft's nose down" as he took off, according to the report. The Boeing 737 passed over the EJR 145 at the intersection of runways 29 and 4R, the report says.
The Boeing 737 from San Francisco was carrying 155 passengers and six crew members. The ERJ-145 to Memphis was carrying 47 passengers and three crew members.
The report is preliminary. A final report with conclusions about the cause of the incident is expected in the coming months.