NTSB investigates RJ near miss at O’Hare

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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating a 16 May a near miss of two regional jets at Chicago O'Hare International airport.

ExpressJet Airlines Flight 6075 enroute to New York, an Embraer ERJ-145, was cleared for takeoff on runway 32L, while arriving SkyWest Flight 6958, operated with a Bombardier CRJ200, was cleared to land on runway 9R, which resulted in the CRJ crossing runway 32L at a low altitude.

"Because of the timing of the two operations, the SkyWest flight nearly overflew the departing ExpressJet flight," said NTSB.

Preliminary radar information provided to the NTSB by FAA indicates that the SkyWest aircraft crossed runway 32L approximately 68.5m (225 ft) above the ExpressJet aircraft when the two aircraft were laterally less than 146m apart.

The board explained a supervisor on duty in the airport tower noticed the traffic on the runway and instructed the controller handling the SkyWest flight to direct the pilot to go around. Archived air traffic control records show that after the pilot was told to go around and climb to 1,219m (4,000ft), he shortly afterwards queried whether to continue flying the runway heading, and was told to turn right, heading 140 degrees, before returning to the airport.

Each flight departed and landed without further incident, says NTSB. The board's air traffic control investigator Betty Koschig is leading NTSB investigative team.