(CNN) — Investigators say a United Airlines captain who crossed the runway where another plane was landing last month in Honolulu "lost situational awareness" and was surprised by air traffic control instructions.
The January 23 incident is one of four near-collisions involving airliners on US airport runways so far this year being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
The NTSB's preliminary report says the United captain took control of the Boeing 777 from the first officer after landing in Honolulu.
The pair had discussed prior to landing guidance from their airline against sitting stationary on the short stretch of pavement between the two runways, and were then surprised by an air traffic control instruction to do just that.
"He indicated that he lost situational awareness as they exited runway 4R as he thought there was more distance between the runways than there actually was," the NTSB report says.
"The CA (captain) also indicated that there doesn't appear to be enough room for a 210' long B777 to be fully clear of runway 4R and still hold short of runway 4L and by the time he realized they were passing the runway 4R hold bars painted on the taxiway they were already on runway 8L and had crossed onto runway 4L."
The aircraft landing on the other runway, a small Cessna cargo turboprop, had planned to exit the runway prior to where the United jet crossed. At the closest point, the planes were 1,173 feet apart and "no evasive action was needed or taken" by the smaller plane, the report said.
United did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.