Plane Diverted at the Last Minute, Aviation Tragedy Averted

On July 7, 2017, a huge Air Canada Airbus A320 was set to land at the 28R runway in the San Francisco Airport. Instead, it was headed to land at a parallel taxiway for planes. At the time, there were already 4 airplanes in Taxiway C and each of these planes was carrying hundreds of passengers as they were set to take off the airport.

It could have been the most terrible accident in aviation history, according to many aviation experts. It’s estimated that had the accident took place, the fatalities could have numbered more than 1,000. Fortunately, the oncoming Airbus A320 was diverted at the very last minute. If you are involved in a situation where an airplane has any issues please give us a call in our San Diego Aviation Accident department today.

What Happened

The Air Canada Airbus A320 was given clearance to land the plane at the 28R runway by the airport air traffic controllers. These air traffic controllers then received a frantic call from one of the pilots of the planes in the taxiway, who was reporting that the Airbus A320 was actually heading towards their spot instead.

According to the subsequent investigation, the pilot actually thought that he was landing the plane on an empty runway. He was unaware that he was headed towards the occupied Taxiway C with hundreds of passengers in 4 planes ready to take off. The air traffic controllers had just enough time to notify the incoming pilot of the mistake.

Could this have resulted in an Aviation Crash?

In this case and with hindsight, it’s frightening to realize how easy it was to end up with this kind of mistake. Air Canada has issued a statement saying that they’ve launched an investigation on the incident, and the FAA has also begun its own investigation into the matter.

However, an audio recording of the conversation between the Airbus A320 pilot and the air traffic controllers have been released. In the audio recording, the Airbus pilot had asked the air traffic controllers for confirmation that he was heading towards the correct runway. It was normal that incoming international flights were directed to one of the two runways in the San Francisco airport. He received a confirmation that he was cleared to land. “There’s no one on 28-Right but you,” said the air traffic controller who gave the confirmation.

Somehow, the air traffic controllers were unaware that the Airbus wasn’t heading towards the 28R runway at all. It took the panicked call of one of the pilots in the taxiway to inform the air traffic controllers. Luckily, the call came in early enough that the air traffic controllers had enough time to tell the Airbus pilot to go around instead of land.

Legal Options for Airplane Malfunctions

This case illustrates how easy it is for accidents to occur in airports. If you are injured in any way while you’re riding an airplane, you should consult with an experienced aviation lawyer to oversee your situation. Such a lawyer has the experience and knowledge to explain your options and to file any civil suit against the appropriate parties. You may then get the compensation you need to cover any medical expenses and lost income, and you may be compensated for your pain and suffering as well.