Three commuter jets narrowly averted a midair collision near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday, according to a report.
The three US Airways jets carrying 192 passengers and crew members came within seconds of a midair collision at around 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday afternoon., the Washington Post reported, citing federal officials with direct knowledge of the incident.
In a statement sent to NBC News, FAA confirmed the incident, and said Potomac Tracon — the region's control facility — altered traffic flow at Reagan National because of bad weather which "led to a loss of the required separation between two regional jets" departing from the same runway and a third regional jet that was bound for Reagan National.
The agency said it "is investigating the incident and will take appropriate action to address the miscommunication."
The Post report cited a discussion between a pilot and an air traffic controller: “Are you with me?” the tower controller asked the inbound pilot, checking to see whether he was tuned to her radio frequency. When the pilot acknowledged her, she ordered him to make an abrupt turn to the south to avoid the other two planes.
“We were cleared [for landing] at the river there,” the pilot said after breaking off the approach northwest of the airport. “What happened?”
After a pause, the controller said, “Stand by, we’re trying to figure this out.”
As she directed him to make a loop around the airport for a second landing attempt the pilot cautioned: “We really don’t have enough fuel here for this. We have to get on the ground pretty quick.”
The planes all reached their destinations safely.
US Airways is investigating "and working with the FAA to determine what occurred," spokesman Todd Lehmacher said in an e-mail to NBC News. He had no other details.