Three US Airways planes came too close to each other in the air near Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport avoiding a mid-air collision.
Air safety regulators are investigating the near miss, which was first reported by the Washington Post, with 192 passengers and crew members on each plane.
According to the BBC, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said bad weather and the landing runway being switched was the cause of miscommunication when the incident took place on Tuesday.
The confusion between the landing plane and the airport's traffic control tower was heard in an audio recording.
At around 2pm on Tuesday the landing plane was ordered by the air control tower to make a turn to the south.
'We were cleared [for landing] at the river there,' the pilot said. 'What happened?'
Following a pause, the controller said: 'Stand by, we're trying to figure this out.'
The pilot was directed to make a loop around the airport for a second landing attempt and said: 'We really don't have enough fuel here for this. We have to get on the ground pretty quick.'
Officials have promised 'appropriate action to address the miscommunication' and FAA administrator Michael Huerta said the planes were not on a collision course but acknowledged they had been too close.
Pilot's miracle escape after mid-air collision at display show
Kate and William in mid-air collision near miss
US Airways plane diverted as 12 passengers fall sick from foul odor
Sign up to our weekly newsletter | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook