Federal safety officials said a regional airliner and a smaller plane came within 3 metres of colliding on an airport runway in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The incident occurred on Friday morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport but was not disclosed by the National Transportation Safety Board until Tuesday.
The PSA Airlines jet with 43 passengers and three crew members was rolling down the runway for takeoff when a warning system alerted air controllers that a smaller turboprop plane was on the same runway about a quarter of the way down the runway, the board said.
The smaller plane -- a Pilatus PC-12 that typically seats six to 10 people -- had been cleared by controllers to taxi over to the runway and told to hold there for clearance for takeoff, the board said.
After the collision warning went off, controllers told the pilots of the airliner, a CRJ-200, to abort the takeoff, the board said. At about the same time, the pilot of the smaller plane became aware that the airliner was coming toward it and pulled the plane to the side of the runway, the board said.
The airliner came to a stop within 10 feet of the smaller plane. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said the board does not know how fast the airliner was moving when the takeoff was aborted. Airliners typically reach speeds of well over 160 km per hour by the time their wheels lift off the runway.