Air China nearly hit a mountain after departure from Hong Kong

June 6, 2017

An Air China passenger plane almost collided with a mountain on Lantau Island on Sunday when it deviated from its actual flight path after takeoff from Hong Kong International Airport.

Instead of following normal route towards westwards, flight CA428 turned south towards Tai O village and the surrounding mountains.  An ATC officer was compelled to dispatch an immediate warning and direct pilot to correct the flight path.

The Airbus A320 landed safely in Chengdu, China but escaped a huge mishap. The nearby peak is 3,066 feet and the aircraft was only at 3,400 feet during wrong flight path. The minimum safe altitude at that area is 4,300 feet.

Air China said, “The flight crew had questions about the air traffic control officer’s directions but, due to a busy radio frequency, the pilot decided to turn first while still confirming the directions.” The investigation is to be made with a submission of detail report from the pilot about the incident.

Civic Party lawmaker and a licensed pilot Jeremy Tam Man-ho said, “If the plane was carrying more cargo or passengers, or if the plane was a bigger one, it might not have achieved its altitude at that time. If the plane turned towards the mountains at an even lower altitude, you could imagine what the consequence could have been.”

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