Airliners' near miss inquiry

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The Department of Transport's Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) has opened an inquiry into a serious near miss incident over Essex last week, in which a passenger jet dropped to within 100 feet of the track of another airliner circling below it. Both were waiting to land at London's Heathrow Airport.

The KLM Boeing 737, with 69 passengers on board, and a Scandinavian Air Services' MD-80, with 71 passengers, were circling above Stapleford in Essex while a problem with a landing aircraft was sorted out on the runway at Heathrow.

The Boeing, from Amsterdam, was cleared to maintain a height of 15,000 feet and the MD-80, from Aarhus in Denmark, was flying at 14,000 feet.