updated 8/23/2007 11:30:41 AM ET 2007-08-23T15:30:41

Two airliners may have missed colliding by less than 40 feet on the runway at Los Angeles International Airport, and federal officials are investigating, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

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No one was hurt Aug. 16, when the two jets came near each other after one had just landed and one was taking off.

Aircraft landing on one of two parallel runways on the north side of the airport's central terminal have to cross another runway to reach terminal gates.

A WestJet Boeing 737 had just landed, changed radio frequencies without authorization and was told to taxi to a terminal gate, the NTSB said. It started to cross the inner runway, where a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320 had been cleared to depart.

The two aircraft came within 37 feet as the Northwest flight crossed directly in front of the WestJet flight, the NTSB said.

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