SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — It’s a flight that California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones will never forget.
He was flying back to California from a trip to Toronto on Air Canada Flight 759 on July 7th. As the plane was in final approach San Francisco International, it became apparent something was wrong.
“As the plane was close to landing, it suddenly went into a steep climb and we heard the sound of (the) plane’s jet engines increase significantly,” he wrote in a complaint letter to Air Canada. The plane climbed over the airport and swung around to make another approach.”
Little did Jones know at the time that he and the other 139 people on board the jet had come to within less than 100 feet of disaster.
The National Transportation Safety Board said the Air Canada Airbus A320 was cleared to land on runway 28R at San Francisco International but instead lined up its approach for a parallel taxiway, which four other airliners were using to get in position to take off.
The NTSB said the Air Canada jet descended to less than 100 feet above the ground and flew over another plane with 135 passengers and five crewmembers on board before aborting the landing on July 7.
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“Passengers were not told that the plane had almost landed on a taxiway on which there were four other planes fully loaded with passengers and fuel,” Jones wrote. “Instead, the pilot made a nonchalant announcement that he had to go around due to traffic at the airport.”
Insurance Commissioner demanded that Air Canada fully investigate the near miss.
“As a passenger of Air Canada Flight 759 I believe we have a right to know what happened, why it happened, and what can be done to make sure that no plane and its passengers are placed at such risk of loss again,” he wrote.
The NTSB said it has interviewed the captain of the Air Canada plane, will talk to the co-pilot Tuesday and finish talking to air traffic controllers by Wednesday.
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has given the flight data recorder, one of the so-called black boxes from the Air Canada plane, to the NTSB, which is leading the investigation.
The NTSB said it has security-camera video of the late-night incident and will release it in the coming months.
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