William and Kate's plane narrowly avoids crash at Heathrow

William and Kate's plane narrowly avoids crash at Heathrow

Prince William and his wife Kate narrowly missed a catastrophic crash while landing at Heathrow as their plane avoided collision with another aircraft that had not cleared a runway in time, a media report said today.

The British Airways jet carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from Copenhagen was less than 200ft off the ground and about to touch down when the captain was forced to take emergency action to avoid ploughing into another aircraft on the runway.

He put the plane into a steep climb then circled the airport for several minutes while the landing strip was cleared, the UK-based People's online reported.

The royals and their fellow­passengers on the 162-seat Airbus A320-200 all escaped the drama unhurt. But Kate Middleton, who was returning from Denmark on one of her first foreign royal trips, was deeply unsettled by the near miss.

"This really was a serious incident and would have been terrifying for those on board. The aircraft ahead of them hadn't cleared the runway in time for the plane carrying the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to land," a source said.

"For anyone who didn't know what was going on it would have been extremely worrying," the source said. "The pilot took the decision to ascend suddenly during the approach and thankfully he was able to land safely," the source added.

The incident on the aircraft happened on November 2 as Kate, 30, and William, 29, flew home from Copenhagen. They had been touring the emergency supply centre of the children's charity UNICEF.

British Airways last night admitted their pilot had been forced into the delicate manoeuvre last November. "Our crew were told by air traffic control to perform a go-around, a perfectly standard operation with no safety implications, because an aircraft from another airline hadn't fully cleared the runway," a spokesman said.

"Safety is always our priority and all our pilots are fully trained to deal with procedures of this kind," the spokesperson added.