Jets 100ft from disaster

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The Independent Online

Authorities are investigating a near miss at London's Heathrow Airport after two passenger jets came within 100 feet of colliding.

The incident occurred last month when a British Airways 747 jet en route from Japan attempted to land on a runway being used for takeoff by a British Midland Airbus 321 headed to Brussels, BBC radio said.

When air traffic controllers discovered the planes were on a collision course, the BA jet's landing was quickly aborted.

The BBC said the April 28 incident happened on a foggy afternoon. The air traffic controller directing the planes was a trainee being overseen by a senior employee, the BBC said.

Aviation authorities considered the incident so serious that the Air Accident Investigation Branch, which normally only investigates crashes, was ordered to prepare a special report. Normally, a division of the Civil Aviation Authority investigates.