Plane diverts to avoid storms, almost crashes into volcano
An Air France plane carrying 37 people almost flew into one of Africa’s highest mountains on May 2.
The Boeing 777 was flying from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to Douala, Cameroon’s largest city, when it diverted from its normal route "to avoid storms", said investigators from the French Land Transport Accident Investigation Bureau.
That manoeuvre put it on course to hit the 4,095m Mount Cameroon, an active volcano.
An automatic "pull up" alarm went off, prompting the pilots to swiftly gain altitude and narrowly miss the mountain.
No one was injured and the plane continued its flight without further incident.
Air France confirmed the incident, saying that it would be carrying out its own internal inquiry.
"A route to avoid a storm brought the plane toward the side of Mount Cameroon," it said in a statement.
The EGPWS (enhanced ground proximity warning system) went off in the plane’s cockpit and the pilots responded "immediately by executing the appropriate manoeuvre", Air France added.