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According to a preliminary report issued by Canadian air safety regulators, on July 7th Air Canada flight AC759 from Toronto came close to crashing into planes lined up to take off at San Francisco International Airport.

The plane, with 140 people on board, was cleared to land on runway 28R just after midnight. However, the pilot inadvertently lined up for Taxiway C, which runs parallel to the runway with fewer than 150 metres separating the runway from the taxiway.

In their short summary of the incident, Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) estimated that the A320-200 overflew the first two aircraft by 100 ft., the third aircraft by 200 ft. and the fourth by 300 ft. The closest lateral distance to one of the aircraft was around 29 ft. The summary also said that the Air Canada Flight had already travelled almost a quarter of a mile over the taxiway before aborting the landing.

In a transcript of the conversations between air traffic control (ATC) and the Air Canada plane, the pilot informs ATC that he can see lights on the runway, before being told there are no other planes on 28R.  Other voices then say "Where's this guy going? He's on the taxiway." When ATC realizes the plane is lined up with the taxiway, it directs the pilots to perform a go around and approach again. On the second attempt it landed without incident.

The FAA and US NTSB are looking into what happened and an Air Canada spokesperson said the airline is also investigating the incident.