San Francisco International Airport was almost the site of the tragedy Friday after a flight of Air Canada avoided a road filled with four other aircraft.
Air Canada’s A759 flight comes to Toronto, was allowed to land just before midnight on a runway parallel to the taxiway, where planes are lined up for takeoff, the Washington Post spokesman told the Federal Aviation Administration.
But the pilot inadvertently threw himself into the taxiway, where four planes are waiting to get out, the spokesman said.
The pilot was ordered by an air traffic control tower to begin and find another approach.
Audio reviewed by the Bay-area newspaper Mercury News and Associated Press gave an overview of the confusion during the incident.
The driver asked if she had been allowed to land after observing the 28R lights on a track.
“There is no one in the 28R but,” said the air traffic controller in response.
“Where is this guy? It’s on the taxiway,” said an unidentified voice presuming another driver in the field.
“It looks like it has been lined up for Charlie (Taxi C) there,” said the air traffic controller after the plane redirected.
“Uno Unidas, Air Canada flew directly over us,” a pilot said on the ground.
The Airbus A320 with 135 passengers and five crew members “usually landed without incident,” Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said on Tuesday and added that the airline’s investigation into the incident.
The FAA spokesman said it was unclear how the landing plane came with four aircraft awaiting takeoff and is investigating the incident.
It is unusual for drivers to confuse roadways for runways, although such mistakes often involve smaller planes at small airports, the Associated Press reported.
In December of 2015, an Alaska Airlines flight landed at a traffic lane center at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
And earlier this year, actor Harrison Ford flew his single engine plane down in a passenger plane in southern California.
“If that’s true, what happened is probably close to the biggest disaster in the history of aviation,” said Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday night, the airline’s commander, Ross Aimer, CEO of Experts Aero Consulting.
“If you can imagine that Airbus is facing large bodies of four passengers, loading of fuel and passengers, you can imagine how horrible it could have been,” he said.