Three Jets Nearly Collide at Washington's Reagan National Airport

Three commuter jets were allowed to fly too close at one of America's busiest airports.
1:51 | 08/02/12

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Transcript for Three Jets Nearly Collide at Washington's Reagan National Airport
NOW, TO A TERRIFYING NEAR-MISS AT ONE OF THE NATION'S BUSIEST AIRPORTS. THREE COMMUTER JETS CAME WITHIN MINUTES OF A POSSIBLE COLLISION AT REAGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. ABC'S JIM AVILA IS THERE WITH THE LATEST. Reporter: THE THREE COMMUTER JETS ALL FLYING FOR U.S. AIRWAYS AND COLLECTIVELY CARRYING NEARLY 200 PEOPLE ONBOARD, WERE IN THE PROCESS OF TAKING AND LANDING AT WASHINGTON'S REAGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, WHEN THEY NEARLY COLLIDED IN MID-AIR, AROUND 2:00 P.M. WEDNESDAY. TRAFFIC WILL CROSS DOWNFIELD. Reporter: WITH THE STORM APPROACHING, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS, JUST OVER IN WARRINGTON, VIRGINIA, CHANGED THE DIRECTION PLANES WERE FLYING INTO AND OUT OF THE AIRPORT TO AVOID SHIFTING WINDS. DID THEY TELL CONTROLLERS AT REAGAN? "THE WASHINGTON POST" REPORTS THAT INFORMATION WAS NOT PASSED ALONG. AND TWO PLANES WERE LAUNCHED IN THE PATH OF ANOTHER FLIGHT THAT WAS LANDING. WASHINGTON TOWER, UNABLE TO REACH YOU. STAND BY. Reporter: TOWER CONTROLLERS SAW THE MISTAKE AND TURNED THE INBOUND FLIGHT SOUTH, JUST 12 SECONDS FROM POSSIBLE IMPACT WITH THE OTHER PLANE. WE WERE CLEARED TO THE RIVER THERE. WHAT HAPPENED? STAND BY. WE HAVE TO GET ON THE GROUND HERE PRETTY QUICK. Reporter: OVERNIGHT, THE FAA CONFIRMED THE NEAR-MISS TO ABC NEWS. SAYING IT WILL TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO ADDRESS THE MISCOMMUNICATION. MEANTIME, U.S. AIRWAYS SAYS, IT'S WORKING WITH THE FAA. AND SAFETY IS ITS TOP PRIORITY. YOU CAN HEAR THE TENSION IN THOSE CONTROLLERS' VOICES. ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO I WAS GIVEN A TOUR BY THE FAA INSIDE THAT CONTROL TOWER. YOU COULD SEE THAT, IN FACT, ONE CONTROLLER CONTROLS BOTH THE TAKEOFF AND LANDINGS WITH AN ASSISTANT. THERE'S A SUPERVISOR BEHIND HE OR SHE. JIM AVILA, IN WASHINGTON, THANK YOU. SCARY MOMENTS THERE.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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