A catastrophe was only about 300 meters away. On Friday (January 13) around 20:45 local time, a critical situation arose at New York-JFK Airport. A Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-900 was about to take off as flight DL1943 to Santo Domingo.

The jet, registration N914DU, was already accelerating when another aircraft crossed runway 04L: American Airlines Boeing 777-200, registration N754AN. Coming from the left, this drove from a taxiway over the runway. The instruction from the control tower to the 737 crew followed: “Shit, Delta 1943, abort takeoff!”, as can be heard on the radio audio recording. And again: “Delta 1943, abort takeoff!”

According to the FAA’s preliminary analysis, the Boeing 737 stopped about 1,000 feet or 300 meters from where the Boeing 777 had crossed the runway. The American plane was en route to the departure of flight AA106 to London.

It is not yet clear how what is called a close call in English came about in the first place. In addition to the FAA, the NTSB, which is responsible for accidents, also said that it was investigating the incident. According to the Aviation Herald portal, which specializes in incidents, the Boeing 777 had clearance to cross runway 31L on taxiway K, but then apparently continued on taxiway J without clearance and crossed runway 04L, which it also headed for take-off itself.

According to CNN, there were 145 passengers and six crew members on board the Delta aircraft. The plane returned to the gate and, due to crew working hours, did not take off until the next morning. The American Airlines jet took off for London on Friday evening.

Listen to the audio recordings of the radio traffic here:

This article was written by Timo Nowack

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The original of this article “As Boeing crosses the runway, a catastrophe almost occurs: “Shit, abort!”” comes from aeroTelegraph.