WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- We have just learned the NTSB will investigate the near-miss at Reagan National Airport on Tuesday. In a statement on Thursday the FAA said a miscommunication "led to a loss of the required separation between two regional jets departing from Runway 1 and a regional jet inbound for Runway 19." CNN reports the NTSB will review communications records, radar data and interviews over the next several days.
According to a Washington Post report, air traffic controllers had to take quick action after realizing they had cleared two planes to take off on a potential collision course with another plane preparing to land.
The Post report claims the incident occurred Tuesday afternoon when air traffic controllers were re-routing the way planes were heading in and out of the airport due to weather conditions. Sources claim an incoming US Airways commuter jet wasn't made aware of the changes. As the plane was coming in to land, two other US Airways jets were heading directly towards it. The report claims disaster was narrowly avoided by a margin of 12 seconds when a controller, who apparently failed inform the pilot of the new landing pattern, instructed the incoming aircraft to abort the landing by making an abrupt turn.
A total of 192 people were on board the three planes involved. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
In a statement from US Airways obtained by 9 NEWS NOW, the Airline claims they are "currently investigating and working with the FAA to determine what occurred. The safety of our customers and employees is always our top priority."
The FAA released the following statement later Thursday morning:
"Just after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the Potomac Tracon initiated a change in the traffic flow at Reagan National Airport (DCA) due to bad weather developing south of the airport. DCA had been landing and departing aircraft on Runway 1, from the south to the north. Due to the bad weather developing, the Tracon was switching operations to land and depart aircraft from the north to the south on Runway 19. During the switchover of operations, miscommunication between the Tracon and the DCA tower led to a loss of the required separation between two regional jets departing from Runway 1 and a regional jet inbound for Runway 19. The FAA is investigating the incident and will take appropriate action to address the miscommunication."
Reagan National Airport's control tower came under fire a little over a year ago when a 20-year veteran was caught napping on the job.