How the greatest aviation tragedy was averted in San Francisco last Friday!

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An aircraft departs runway 8/26 at Denver International Airport

According to reports, an Air Canada plane loaded with passengers nearly landed on the wrong runway and was close to colliding with four other passenger planes awaiting departure.

The Air Canada Airbus 320 was cleared to land at a runway at San Francisco worldwide airport late on Friday.

In an audio recording of the conversations between air traffic control and pilots available from Live ATC, the Air Canada pilot tells air traffic control he sees other lights on the runway before being told there are no other planes on 28R.

Currently, the U.S. government is exploring ways to "modernize" air traffic control in airports around the country.

Details are emerging about an apparent near-miss at San Francisco International Airport on Friday, in which a flight arriving from Toronto reportedly mistook a taxiway for a runway. The pilot was flying the plane manually on a clear night when he lined up wrong, the federal agency said.

'Air Canada flew directly over us, ' another pilot says.

Air Canada Flight 759, which had taken off from Toronto in Canada was about to land on a parallel taxiway instead of the runway.

Another - unidentified - voice is then heard saying: "Where's this guy going?". He added that the four passenger planes would have been filled with fuel and passengers.

One of the air traffic controllers replies that there are no other planes there.

The FAA is investigating the distance between the Air Canada aircraft and the jets that were lined up on Taxiway C.

The FAA says four other aircraft were on the taxiway at the time of the incident, though it declines to specify how close the Air Canada A320 came to those aircraft.

"Yeah, I saw that guys", the control tower responded.

Air Canada also said it was investigating the reports.

Aviation experts say the incident could've been close to disastrous.

"We are still investigating the circumstances and therefore have no additional information to offer", he said.

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, a former pilot said the plane avoided what could have been a "horrific" collision.

A spokesman for San Francisco's airport declined to comment.

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