The Moment Two Commercial Planes Almost Collide In Chicago

Quick thinking and sharp reflexes avoided an almost-tragedy.

The call from the control tower is frantically scary ad the controller shouts, "1328, stop, stop, stop!"

The chaos ensued when two passenger jets from Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines at Chicago's Midway International Airport began to take off at the same time on intersecting runways and almost collided.

Fortunately the pilots halted, avoiding a tragedy in the making by stopping about 2,000 feet from the intersection.

The confusion was caused by the almost similar flight numbers:  Southwest Airlines Flight 3828 and Delta Air Lines Flight 1328. 3828 was given a clear to take off and was on the move when the controller saw 1328 ready to take off as well, heading right at the other plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration is looking in to the matter but in all likelihood the similar-sounding flight numbers caused the confusion.

In the audio tape of the incident, the controller and pilots keep answering to each other, which suggests  confusion.

The Southwest pilot can be heard asking whether he was the one cleared for takeoff.

"Yes sir, you were," the controller responds. "You were the one. You were doing what you were supposed to be doing."

With the disaster averted, both planes were on their way a little while later.