Shenzhen Airlines plane in near miss with Hong Kong's Big Buddha

A hiker took a photo of a Shenzhen Airlines flight that flew low over Lantau Island on June 26, 2016.
A hiker took a photo of a Shenzhen Airlines flight that flew low over Lantau Island on June 26, 2016.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/JETS ASIA PACIFIC
The Shenzhen Airlines plane was so close to the Big Buddha statue (pictured) that the plane's markings could be clearly seen.
The Shenzhen Airlines plane was so close to the Big Buddha statue (pictured) that the plane's markings could be clearly seen.PHOTO: HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD

A Shenzhen Airlines flight narrowly missed the Big Buddha, a famous statue in Hong Kong's Lantau Island, as it attempted to land in Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday (June 26), reports said.

Hong Kong's Civil Aviation Department said it is investigating the near crash which happened at 9.52am, the South China Morning Post said.

Flight ZH9041, which departed from Jinjiang in Fujian province, was approaching the Hong Kong airport when it aborted landing and asked to initiate a "go around".

At the time, another plane was taking off from the south runway at the Hong Kong airport.

Air traffic controllers instructed the plane to stop climbing immediately.

To avoid the other craft, ZH9041 turned to its right and passed over Lantau Island near the Buddha statue at about 3,000 feet (914m), said Aviation Herald, a website that specialises in commercial aviation news.

The Airbus A320 climbed to 6,000 feet, circled round back to the airport, and landed safely about 20 minutes after going around, the website reported.

The highest peak on Lantau Island, a popular spot for tourists and hikers, is 3,064 feet while the bronze buddha is said to be more than 2,500 feet tall.

A hiker, who was not named, took a photograph of the plane as it flew overhead. It was so close up the plane's markings could be clearly seen in the photo.

"Can't imagine that this was ATC (Air Traffic Control) sanctioned in any way!!!" Aviation Herald quoted the hiker as saying.

It is not known why the pilot decided to abort the first landing. The Civil Aviation Department has requested a report from Shenzhen Airline regarding the incident.

It said in its statement that the plane had "departed from the normal approach flight path".

However, air traffic controllers directed the plane back to the right path, it said.