The Civil Aviation Department said there was no risk of collision when an Air China passenger plane bound for Chengdu deviated from its flight route shortly after taking off from the Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday night, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
But the CAD said air traffic controllers repeatedly warned Flight CA428 of the terrain ahead and asked the pilot to expedite the climb to 5,000 feet, according to a recording of the dialogue between the two sides, according to Apple Daily.
The pilot had apparently failed to respond to the repeated instructions of the air traffic control staff, based on the recording of the dialogue obtained by the newspaper.
The plane was heading in the direction of Tai O and was at one point at the same height as the Big Buddha statue.
According to Apple Daily, the pilot could have prematurely guided the plane to the left side a minute after taking off.
The flight was scheduled to depart Hong Kong for Chengdu at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday. However, take-off was delayed until 9:07 p.m. It landed in Chengdu at 11:22 p.m.
The CAD confirmed that air traffic control officers had to request CA428, which took off from the southern runway, to resume its intended flight route.
But it said there was no collision risk as the aircraft had maintained a minimum distance from other aircraft and terrain in the vicinity.
An Air China spokesperson said the pilots had doubts about the instructions from the air traffic controllers, and due to the busy radio frequencies, the flight deviated from the normal route for a short period of time.
However, after being reminded by air traffic control staff, the pilots acted in a timely manner to restore the flight route, the airline said.
The similar incident happened in June last year.
A Shenzhen Airlines flight zipped just a few hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue on Lantau after aborting its landing while on its final approach to the airport.
Mainland flight almost hits Big Buddha after aborting HK landing (Jun. 29, 2016)
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