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Abort! Airliner nearly lands on other San Francisco planes

Departing and parked aircraft intersect at San Francisco International Airport, Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in San Francisco. An Air Canada Airbus A320 was cleared to land on one of the runways at the San Francisco airport just before midnight on Friday, July 7, when the pilot "inadvertently" lined up with the taxiway, which runs parallel to the runway. There were other aircraft lined up on the taxiway waiting for departure when the incident occurred. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) More

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The pilot of an Air Canada plane carrying 140 passengers made a last-minute maneuver to avoid landing on a taxiway at San Francisco International Airport where four passenger jets were lined up to take off.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday it is investigating why the pilot mistakenly made his approach toward the taxiway instead of the runway just to the left. An air traffic controller ordered the Airbus 320 to abort and circle for another landing, which it did without incident Friday night.

Aviation-safety consultant Todd Curtis said it was "definitely a serious event since a landing on an active taxiway could lead to a catastrophic accident."

In audio posted on liveatc.net, which records flight communications, the pilot on the plane from Toronto and the air traffic controller sounded calm as the close call unfolded.

At first, the pilot said he sees "some lights on the runway," apparently alluding to...


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