The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a close call at JFK international airport on Friday evening in which two planes nearly collided on the runway.
The incident took place between a Delta Air Lines aircraft bound for the Dominican Republic and an American Airlines flight.
At about 8.45pm, as the Delta plane was accelerating down the runway for takeoff, the American Airlines plane appeared to surprise it by crossing the runway ahead.
In a statement, the FAA said that “air traffic controllers noticed another aircraft crossing the runway in front of the departing jetliner”.
“Delta 1943 cancel takeoff clearance!” an air traffic controller announced twice.
The Delta flight responded by slowing down and eventually coming to a halt. At their closest the two planes reportedly passed within just 1,000ft of each other.
A passenger on the Delta flight told NBC News there was a “split second of panic” on board that sparked “audible reaction” from those on the flight.
“I felt the adrenaline, and there was total quiet on the plane – and then there was relief when the plane came to a stop,” Brian Healy said.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Sunday that it is also investigating the “runway incursion”.
The Delta Air Lines flight had 145 passengers and six staff members onboard. After the incident the flight was postponed util Saturday morning, and Delta arranged for the passengers’ accommodation during the wait.
Delta said it is cooperating with authorities in the investigation.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always Delta’s number one priority,” it said in a statement. “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and delay of their travels.”