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N.Y. control-tower incident almost leads to collision

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Spilled coffee in a control tower distracted controllers long enough to delay instructions to a passenger jet, causing two planes to pass within 20 feet of each other over New York's LaGuardia airport, the Daily News reported Sunday.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the near midair collision occurred on the morning of April 3 as a US Airways DC-9 was cleared to land on one runway and an Air Canada Airbus A320 was taking off on an intersecting runway."Intersecting runways are used across the country every day very safely, but what happened in this case was that two aircraft came too close together and a near midair collision report was filed by the US Airways pilot," FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said.