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US Airways flight at Reagan National airport aborted after fire scare

Passengers were removed from a plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., on Friday after the pilot of the US Airways regional flight aborted takeoff.

The flight, operated by Air Wisconsin, was departing for Islip, N.Y., when an engine heat warning indicator came on and the pilot called for assistance. Andrew Christie, a spokesman for US Airways, told NBC News that takeoff for Flight 3652 was aborted "out of an abundance of caution."

Fire crews inspected the plane, and the 49 passengers and three crew members were removed and bused back to the terminal.

The inspection resulted in the brief closure of runways, but the airport resumed normal operations at 3:15 p.m. ET, said Rob Yingling, a spokesman for Reagan National. 

There were no injuries and the passengers are being rebooked on a later flight, Christie said.

The incident comes a few days after three US Airways regional jets were involved in a close call at the same airport.

Transportation officials on Thursday acknowledged a “loss of separation” involving the three planes, but insisted the aircraft were never on a collision course.

“At no point were these planes on a head-to-head collision point,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told reporters on Thursday.

Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, said the incident occurred because of a miscommunication between a manager at Potomac Tracon — the region's radar control facility — and traffic management coordinators at Reagan National.

FAA said the landing plane, which departed from Portland, Maine, came within 800 vertical feet and about nine-tenths of a lateral mile of one departing plane and 800 vertical feet and 2.4 lateral miles of the second plane. The other planes had been departing for Kansas City and Columbus, Ohio. The planes all reached their destinations safely.

The FAA has launched an investigation into an incident over Washington D.C.'s Reagan airport where three passenger jets dangerously close to each other. NBC's Chris Clackum reports.

NBCWashington contributed to this report.

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