WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The chair of the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday the February 2023 near-collision between a FedEx plane and a Southwest Airlines jet in Austin, Texas could have been catastrophic without the actions of the cargo carrier pilots.

The NTSB is meeting to determine the probable cause and make safety recommendations in the wake of a series of dangerous near-collision incidents last year that raised concerns about U.S. aviation safety and the strain on understaffed air traffic control.

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said the planes came within 150 to 170 feet of each other when the FedEx plane aborted its landing and overflew the Southwest plane that was moving down the runway.

(Reporting by David Shepardson)