Air Canada plane avoids disaster in San Francisco

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An Air Canada plane narrowly averted a disaster after it almost landed on a taxiway with four other planes on it in San Francisco Friday night.

Air Canada flight AC759 from Toronto was cleared to land on runway 28R just before midnight, a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration said.

“However, the pilot inadvertently lined up for Taxiway C, which runs parallel to the runway,” the statement said. “An air traffic controller sent the Air Canada jet around. The plane made another approach and landed without incident.”

In an audio recording of the conversations between air traffic control and pilots available from Live ATC, the Air Canada pilot tells air traffic control he sees other lights on the runway before being told there are no other planes on 28R. When air traffic control realizes the plane is headed for the taxiway, it is directed to go around and approach again.

In the recording, a United Airlines pilot is heard saying “United One, Air Canada just flew directly over us.”

‘Very rare’

The FAA says this type of occurrence is “very rare.”

The FAA is investigating how close the Air Canada plane got to the four planes on the taxiway.

In a statement, an Air Canada spokesperson said they are also investigating.

“Air Canada flight AC759 from Toronto was preparing to land at San Francisco airport Friday night when the aircraft initiated a go-around,” Peter Fitzpatrick said in the emailed statement. “The aircraft landed normally without incident. We are still investigating the circumstances and therefore have no additional information to offer.”

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, a former pilot said the plane avoided what could have been a “horrific” collision.

“If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history,” said retired United Airlines Capt. Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts.

“If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft wide bodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been,” he said.

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Air Canada plane avoids disaster in San Francisco

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