Planes Seconds Away from Collision at O'Hare: Report

By BJ Lutz
|  Wednesday, May 18, 2011  |  Updated 5:56 PM CDT
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A pair of passenger planes came within 300 feet of colliding above O'Hare International Airport on Monday, according to federal officials and air traffic recordings.

The Washington Post reports the incident occurred as Vice President Joe Biden was landing in Chicago to attend the Inaugural Ceremony at Millennium Park.

Air traffic recordings indicate that a controller supervisor stepped in with seconds to spare and instructed a SkyWest Airline jet inbound from Muskegon, Mich., with 29 people aboard, to abort its landing on runway 9R because an ExpressJet Airlines plane was taxiing down runway 32L to depart for Buffalo, New York.

The vice president's plane, Air Force Two, was never in any danger, officials said. Flight operations at O'Hare were halted briefly when Biden's plane landed.  The near-collision occurred as controllers were trying to get traffic moving again.

Federal Aviation Administration officials told NBC News that it will review the event to see if any additional training or procedural changes might be necessary.

The incident comes amid a string of aircraft incidents involving high-profile politicans and focused attention on the nation's air traffic control system.

On Wednesday, Air Force One had to abort a landing in Connecticut because of poor weather

Last month, the vice president's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and First Lady Michelle Obama were aboard a plane that was forced to abort its landing at Andrews Air Force Base because it came too close to a military cargo jet.

And in March, a flight from Chicago was one of two airliners that landed at Washington's Reagan National Airport without control tower clearance because the air traffic supervisor was asleep.

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