WASHINGTON — None of the three commuter jets that flew too close together near Washington were ever on course to collide head-on with the others, federal officials said Thursday.
During a news conference, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood strongly disputed media reports characterizing the incident as a near-disaster.
‘‘At no point were the three aircraft on a head-to-head course. They were not on a collision course,’’ said Michael Huerta, Federal Aviation Administration administrator.
The incident happened Tuesday because of a miscommunication between a manager at Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control and two traffic management coordinators at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Huerta said. Officials are investigating exactly what happened.
Traffic controllers had to redirect the planes because of bad weather developing south of the airport. Both LaHood and Huerta praised the work of air traffic controllers to quickly set the planes on another path once they learned they were too close together. Huerta said the planes were on different headings at different altitudes and thus never would have crashed.