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Published on Monday, October 15, 2018

Report finds Air Canada near miss could have killed over 1,000 people

An official report into a near miss at San Francisco Airport last year, when an Air Canada aircraft escaped disaster by swerving away from four other planes at the last minute, has concluded it could have been history's worst aviation disaster.

National Transportation Safety Board vice chairman Bruce Landsberg said: "Only a few feet of separation prevented this from possibly becoming the worst aviation accident in history."

The near miss, which happened in July 2017, could have killed over 1,000 people, according to the official report.

A quick-thinking air traffic controller managed to avert the disaster when the Air Canada jet was making its descent into SFO but wrongly lined up to land on a taxiway where four other aircraft were lined up awaiting permission to take off.

The controller ordered the Air Canada pilot to pull up and go around again.

In audio at the time, the controller was heard saying: "It looks like you were lined up for Charlie (Taxiway C) there", while a United Airlines pilot on the ground can be heard saying: "United One, Air Canada flew directly over us."

Video footage of the aircraft narrowly escaping disaster by swerving away from the other planes with moments to spare has gone viral.

The NTSB report said the pilots were slow to report the incident to superiors and, by the time they did, the plane was already on another flight and the cockpit voice recording of the incident had been recorded over.

The pilot said he did not report the incident immediately as he was 'very tired' and it was late. He reported it the following day.

Air Canada has since given pilots special training for landing procedures at San Fransicso Airport.

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