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A pilot had been told to wait to take off before planes collided on Houston runway, NTSB says

(Photo Provided/Getty Images)

The pilot of a twin-engine Hawker aircraft started rolling on a runway after being told to line up and wait for takeoff when the plane’s wing struck the tail of a twin engine Cessna that had just landed at William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

The Hawker aircraft became airborne before returning to the runway, NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson said, but it was not yet clear if the pilot failed to hear the instruction to wait.

“We haven’t verified that, that’s one thing we’re very interested in,” Knudson said.

None of the eight people on board to two airplanes — five on the Cessna and three on the Hawker — were injured, the NTSB said.

The NTSB said in a statement on X that a six-person team of investigators was sent to the airport Wednesday, and a preliminary report on the collision is expected within 30 days.

A probable cause report on the Tuesday afternoon collision will take up to two years to complete, the NTSB said.

There were 54 flights cancelled and 78 diverted from the airport southeast of downtown while operations were suspended for more than three hours, according to ABC-13.

There has been a string of recent close calls at airports around the nation, and the Biden administration said in September it will invest $26 million to address the problem. The money will go toward new safety measures, including automation to alert air traffic controllers about planes that are heading for the wrong runway.