The flight was cleared to land, but it appears the pilots were confused and accidentally lined up on a taxiway instead of the two runways.
There were four planes loaded with fuel and passengers on the taxiway. They were waiting to take off as the Air Canada jet approached, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In an audio recording of conversations between air traffic control and pilots, the pilot tells air traffic control he sees other lights on the runway before being told there are no other planes on 28R. When an air traffic controller realizes the plane was headed for the taxiway, he tells the pilot to abort the landing attempt and try again.
A voice is heard saying, “Where’s this guy going? He’s on the taxiway.”
They ended up landing the aircraft safely.
Retired United Airlines Capt. Ross Aimer, told the San Jose Mercury News the incident, if true, “probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history.”
There was no immediate information on how many people were on the Air Canada flight from Toronto.
The FAA is investigating how close the Air Canada plane got to the planes on the taxiway.
WATCH: Air Canada flight nearly lands on crowded taxiway
“Air Canada flight AC759 from Toronto was preparing to land at San Francisco airport Friday night when the aircraft initiated a go-around,” Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson with Air Canada said in an email.
“The aircraft landed normally without incident. We are still investigating the circumstances and therefore have no additional information to offer.”
— With files from the Canadian Press
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