A Shenzhen Airlines flight zipped just a few hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue on Lantau after aborting its landing while at its final approach to the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok on Sunday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Flight ZH-9041 from Jinjiang in southeastern China’s Fujian province was said to have violated standard procedures of “going around” after it aborted its landing due to insufficient clearance from another aircraft ahead, the newspaper said, citing a report from The Aviation Herald, which reports daily about critical incidents in the civil aviation industry.
The pilot of the Airbus A320-200, instead of turning left as standard procedures requiredto avoid the mountains, steered to the right and climbed steeply into the sky, bringing the plane near Lantau’s Ngong Ping tourist resort.
The aircraft flew above Lantau at 3,000 feet, which was lower than the summit of Lantau Peak at 3,066 feet and only several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue, which stands at 2,519 feet.
It was understood that the minimum flight altitude in the region is 4,300 feet.
A man who was hiking below Big Buddha observed that the plane was flying about 3,000 feet near the giant statue, which was later confirmed by satellite data. He was able to take a photograph of the aircraft.
“Can’t imagine that this was ATC (air traffic control) sanctioned in any way!!!” The Aviation Herald quoted him as saying.
The aircraft climbed to safety at 6,000 feet, then followed the missed approach procedure and was instructed to proceed to another approach to runway 07L.
It landed safely on the runway about 20 minutes after going around.
A Civil Aviation Department spokesperson confirmed that a Shenzhen Airlines flight had deviated from its normal flight path at 9:52 a.m. on Sunday.
It asked the airline to submit a report and would follow up on the incident.
The flight was 1,300 feet below the safe altitude and could have hit a mountain head-on, news website hk01.com said.
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