Air Canada plane missed aircraft by 30m at San Francisco airport

AN Air Canada flight with 140 people on board came within 30m of crashing into other aircraft at San Francisco's airport as it prepared to land, BBC reported today.

The pilot was said to have "inadvertently" headed for the area where planes were due to depart in the July 7 incident. He was ordered to pull up and the Airbus 320 circled and landed safely.

As the plane approached the taxiway, which runs parallel to the runway, it is estimated that it flew just 30m above two aircraft waiting to depart, a preliminary report by Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said.

After receiving a warning, the pilot pulled up and the plane rose about 60m above a third jet and about 90m above a fourth, the TSB said.

Flight AC759 had already travelled almost 400m over the taxiway before aborting the landing, the board's report added.

The pilot then made another successful approach. No injuries were reported.

Air Canada said that 135 passengers and five crew members were on the flight from Toronto.

An Air Canada spokeswoman, Angela Mah, said the airline was investigating the incident and was "co-operating with the authorities".

Investigators are looking into the close call, the St Thomas Times Journal also reported. They are expected to examine whether human error or controller procedures played a role in the incident.

The state of the aircraft's and controller's equipment, and the design of the air space will also be under review, said Barry Wiszniowski, president of Aviation Safety Management Experts.

"One of the questions that they may ask is were the pilots fatigued? ... Were they in their normal window of wakefulness?" Wiszniowski said.

"There are a lot of questions that need to be asked."