• Kyodo

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A Japan Airlines plane overshot its flight path Sunday and veered close to Hong Kong’s highest mountain, the Hong Kong government and a local newspaper said Thursday.

JAL Flight 753 was carrying 216 passengers from Fukuoka to Hong Kong when it veered within 2 nautical miles, or 3.7 km, of mountain Tai Mo Shan at an altitude of 1,180 meters, 188 meters higher than the summit.

During stormy weather, the DC-10 missed a flight path that would have allowed it to hook into the instrument landing system of Hong Kong International Airport.

The South China Morning Post reported that another pilot flying nearby described the incident as the closest near-miss he had seen.

“I don’t know what the pilot was doing but it was cloudy and the mountain was shrouded in fog so he wouldn’t have seen it,” the unnamed pilot was quoted by the newspaper as saying. “The air traffic controller was screaming at him to climb up. The JAL pilots sounded very shaken up and apologized to the controller.”

The Civil Aviation Department described the incident by saying an air traffic controller immediately warned the pilot that the plane had deviated from the flight path and it was in danger of not clearing the terrain.

The department said in a statement that the plane returned to its proper path and continued its descent, making a normal approach to the runway.

The CAD also said it was satisfied that the aircraft remained within a safe approach path and therefore maintained a safe distance from obstacles.

In addition, it quoted JAL as saying its pilot was fully aware of his position and considered the deviation to be within the acceptable limit.

According to JAL, the flight, which left Fukuoka airport at 10:44 a.m., arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 1 p.m., 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.

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