Near Miss at Houston Airport

Two United planes almost collided when a controller in training told one to turn the wrong way.
1:59 | 05/23/14

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Transcript for Near Miss at Houston Airport
Two passenger planes, coming within 400 feet of each other, while taking off in Houston at one of the busiest airports in the country. ABC's David Kerley is in Washington with the new details on what has happened. Good morning, David. Reporter: Good morning, robin. Two close calls in just 2 1/2 weeks apart. And the second one we're learning this morning happened in Houston when a controller who was training told a jetliner to turn the wrong way. It was an evening takeoff for the two united jets. 601, thank you. Turn right. Right turn. Heading 340. Reporter: The two air bus 320s rolling down separate runways at about the same time. But then, the controller at Houston's bush international, tells the jet going east, heading to Vancouver, to turn right, when it was supposed to turn left. That meant the jet, which can carry 120 people, was heading right for that other plane, taking off for Mexico City. The planes get within 4,200 feet from each other, seconds from impact, before that same air traffic controller realizes the mistake. Listen to him as he tries to avoid disaster. United 601, stop your turn. Stop your climb and stop your turn, united 601. Reporter: Incredibly, the jetliners are unaware how close they had come to the disaster. One crew asking other pilots in the air if theynew what happened. You basically crossed directly over the top of each other. Reporter: This happened two weeks ago. And that was just 2 1/2 weeks after another united flight came within 50 yards of an express jet at Newark airport. Yeah. We're putting down the nose. We can't say that two is a trend, is concerning. And the principal question, do we have a systemic problem of some sort? Reporter: On the two aircraft, 1 was carrying 100 people. The other, 125. The controller who realized the mistake and corrected it, still on the job.

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

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