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Cargo plane narrowly misses Tiger’s Head after turning too soon following take off

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An investigation has reportedly been launched by the Civil Aviation Department after a Boeing 747-800 freighter narrowly missed Tiger’s Head on Sunday.

Cathay Pacific flight CX86, operated by Atlas Air, took off from Hong Kong International Airport’s south runway, the runway generally used for cargo flights, at 11.43pm on September 24.

CX86 Flightradar24

According to aviation-safety.net, the flight was supposed to take a “heading of 073° after take off, towards the PORPA waypoint. After PORPA, the aircraft would have to turn right, after passing the mountainous area on Lantau Island,” however the flight did not follow its intended route, and instead made a right turn immediately after take off, passing directly over Tiger’s Head, which at its peak reaches over 1,500 feet.

A DB resident who witnessed the incident said, “I was stood on my balcony when I heard the loudest noise and saw the brightest lights coming through the clouds from behind Tiger’s Head. Seconds later, a huge plane appeared and continued on its path over the top of my apartment in La Vista. It seemed that low that if you stretched up, you could have touched it.”

Data from Flightradar24 revealed that the aircraft was flying at an altitude between 2,050 and 2,475 feet as the plane passed over the area. In a comment from the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) to Around DB and Life on Lantau, “The air traffic control officer (ATCO) spotted the anomaly immediately and gave instructions to guide the aircraft concerned back to its right track [enroute to Anchorage, Alaska].” No injuries or further incidents were reported.

According to a Cathay Pacific spokesperson, “We are aware of an event involving a freighter operated by Atlas Air and wet-leased by Cathay Pacific. We are following up with the operator (Atlas Air) regarding the details of the event.” In addition, the CAD has informed Around DB and Life on Lantau that they are currently following up on the incident “in accordance to the established procedures and has informed the Civil Aviation Authority of the State of Registry of the aircraft concerned, for actions deemed appropriate.”

Concerned residents have pointed out that this is not the first incident of its kind this year. In June an Air China flight turned too soon after take off, heading south towards Tai O village and the surrounding mountains instead of continuing west until it cleared Lantau Island.

(Updated 5:40pm September 27 2017)

Photo: Flightradar24

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