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The Worst Crash Ever Just Missed. Now What Do We Do?

Aviation officials say faster reporting is needed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2018 12:30 PM CDT
In this Oct. 24, 2107 file photo, the air traffic control tower is in sight as a plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
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(Newser) – Safety officials say a near collision of airliners in San Francisco last year was a few feet from becoming the worst crash in aviation history and underscores the need for faster reporting of dangerous incidents before evidence is lost, the AP reports. The National Transportation Safety Board issued a final report Thursday on the incident in which an Air Canada jet nearly crashed into planes lined up on the ground at San Francisco International Airport. The pilots were slow to report the incident to superiors. By the time they did, the plane had made another flight and the cockpit voice recording of the close call was recorded over. The NTSB says the recording could have helped investigators understand why the Air Canada pilots missed the runway and were about to land on a taxiway where four other planes were idling before they aborted their landing.

The Air Canada jet swooped to just 60 feet above the ground while passing over other planes packed with passengers waiting to take off shortly before midnight on July 7, 2017. "Only a few feet of separation prevented this from possibly becoming the worst aviation accident in history," NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg says in a statement accompanying the report. Another board member, Earl Weener, says the Air Canada plane came within feet of hitting another plane and colliding with several others. "Over 1,000 people were at imminent risk of serious injury or death," he said. The deadliest aviation accident occurred in 1977, when two Boeing 747 jets collided on a runway in Tenerife on the Canary Islands, leaving 583 people dead. Click for the full story.

(Read more NTSB stories.)

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