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Controller blamed in planes' close call

The FAA is investigating the near-collision Thursday of two planes on a runway at Dallas-Fort Worth airport.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Two airplanes nearly collided on a runway at Dallas-Fort Worth airport Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration says.

No one was hurt on either plane.

The FAA said an air traffic controller cleared a Delta 737-300 with 125 passengers for takeoff about 10:30 a.m. At the same time, a Continental 737 that had just landed on a parallel runway was cleared to cross the other runway to get to the terminal.

A source told CNN the Delta plane bound for Oakland, California had to pull up so quickly its tail hit the runway and was damaged, although Delta would not confirm that. The plane returned to the airport and the flight was canceled.

The Continental plane, Flight 1487 with 55 passengers on board, had just arrived from Cleveland, Ohio.

Close calls on runways alarm aviation experts  

The two planes never touched. But the FAA says the Delta plane came within 500 feet of the Continental jet vertically over the runway.

A recent report by the FAA found such runway incursions -- ranging from close calls to minor infractions -- are on the rise. They now occur at an average of one every day, although most are minor.

The FAA says the air traffic controller and his or her supervisor have been taken off the job and decertified, which is routine in such incidents. The FAA is investigating.

• Federal Aviation Administration
• Delta Air Lines
• Continental Airlines

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