Canadian NTSB: Air Canada plane was 100 feet away from tragedy at SFO

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The Air Canada plane that almost landed on the taxiway instead of the runway at the San Francisco International Airport last week was 100 feet away from a tragedy, according to a preliminary report from the Canadian NTSB.

Just before midnight last Friday, AC759 was cleared to land on Runway 28R. However, the pilot inadvertently lined up for Taxiway C, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

There were four airplanes full of passengers lined up on Taxiway C waiting for departure when the Air Canada plane nearly landed on the strip. The taxiway runs parallel to the runway.

The Canadian NTSB’s report found that just over half a nautical mile from the runway’s threshold, the flight crew asked air traffic control to confirm their landing clearance because they could see lights that weren’t supposed to be there. Another flight crew on Taxiway C also inquired about where AC759 was landing.

After the pilot had flown over roughly a quarter-mile of the runway, air traffic control instructed them to circle around and makeb another pass at landing, which worked out without incident, the report said.

At one point, however, AC759 was just 100 feet above another plane, according to the Canadian NTSB.

AC759 was an Airbus A320 with 135 passengers and five crewmembers on board at the time, according to Air Canada.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has not yet issued a report on the incident.

“We’re still very early in our investigation,” NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said Thursday. “We just got involved a few days ago.”

“We’re going to, at some point, send a couple investigators to the area to collect information, probably speak with air traffic controllers as well as the flight crew, but there’s no specific date on that,” Holloway said.

Doug Yakel, a spokesman for SFO, declined to comment on the incident.

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