Jet air canada in winnipeg

An Air Canada plane with 140 people on board came within 30 metres of crashing onto two of four planes lined up to take off at San Francisco International Airport last week, according to a preliminary report Canadian air safety regulators released Thursday.

The finding provided the first official accounting of how close the Air Canada plane came to causing what could have been one of the worst disasters in commercial aviation history.

Instead of lining up to land on the runway, the pilot of the flight from Toronto mistakenly descended toward a parallel taxiway just to the right of where four other airliners were idling in the darkness. Taxiways are the aviation equivalent of feeder roads that planes use to roll between runways and terminals, and have different lights than runways.

July 11 (UPI) -- An Air Canada plane almost landed on a taxiway with four other planes at San Francisco International Airport, avoiding a major disaster.

Flight 759, which departed from Toronto, was cleared to land on runway 28R just before midnight Friday, a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration said.

"However, the pilot inadvertently lined up for Taxiway C, which runs parallel to the runway," the statement said. "An air traffic controller sent the Air Canada jet around."

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