The 'Greatest Aviation Disaster in History' Narrowly Avoided

July 11, 2017Jul 11, 2017

On July 7th, an Air Canada Flight was landing in San Francisco when they noticed something wrong: there was lights on their runway. The problem was: it wasn't there runway. In fact, it was a crowded taxiway filled with fully gassed and fully loaded planes ready for take-off reports Fox News

"What happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history," ross Aimer, a retired United Airlines pilot and CEO of Aero Consulting Experts told The San Jose Mercury News

He added, “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.”

Fortunately, once the pilot realized his runway wasn't clear, he asked the air traffic control tower to confirm he could land because he saw lights. They quickly told him that the runway was clear, so he shouldn't be seeing any lights. Another man quickly realized what was wrong. "“Where’s this guy going? He’s on the taxiway," he said. 

Air traffic control told him to fly around circle around the airport and line up for landing again—thereby avoiding the catastrophe. FAA officials are investigating to determine how close he got to the taxiway before controllers realized his mistake. However, one pilot reportedly said, "Air Canada flew directly over us" repeatedly to the air traffic controller, who confirmed that they saw the same thing. 

At this time, Air Canada says they have no new information to add.