Canadian jet almost caused 'greatest aviation disaster in history'
An Air Canada pilot almost caused "the greatest aviation disaster in history" after narrowly avoiding landing on four planes at San Francisco International Airport.
Newly released data and photos show how shockingly low the jet was when it pulled up to avoid crashing into taxiing aircrafts.
The Air Canada pilots mistook the taxiway for the runway next to it and flew their jet to just 18 meters above ground before pulling up to attempt another landing, according to National Transportation Safety Board information released Wednesday.
That's barely taller than the four planes that were on the taxiway when the incident occurred late at night on July 7.
Images released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shows Air Canada flight 759 (ACA 759) attempting to land at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on July 7
Pilots in a United Airlines plane alerted air traffic controllers about the off-course jet, while the crew of a Philippine Airlines jet behind it switched on their plane's landing lights in an apparent last-ditch danger signal to Air Canada.
NTSB investigators said they have not determined probable cause for the incident that came within a few feet of becoming one of the worst disasters in aviation history.
"It was close, much too close," said John Cox, a safety consultant and retired airline pilot. The investigators said that as the Air Canada jet approached the taxiway just before midnight after a flight from Toronto, it was so far off course that it did not appear on a radar system used to prevent runway collisions.