Canadian pilot shuts down Tokyo airport by getting stuck on unpaved taxiway

It was a bumpy landing for 201 passengers on an Air Canada flight from Montreal to Tokyo Monday after the pilot entered a taxiway that was under construction, getting the craft stuck on the unpaved surface.

Officials at Narita International Airport had to close one of its two runways for six hours because of the stranded Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

Six domestic flights were cancelled and some planes were forced to divert to different airports, Kyodo news agency reported.

Passengers’ relief at landing turned to nightmare after it took more than five hours before they could start disembarking from the plane, which mistakenly entered the unfinished taxiway and ground to a halt at around 3:45pm on 30 July.

Eventually, the plane was towed away after steel sheets were placed on the rough ground, and the runway was reopened at about 10pm.

Passengers included Japan’s national men’s underwater hockey team, which had been returning home after taking part in the world championships in Canada. The team finished 13th in the tournament.

"I was worried because the in-flight announcement was difficult to understand and it wasn’t clear when the situation was going to end," said the team’s coach, Kazuhiko Saito.

(Video of an underwater hockey match between men’s winners France and runners-up New Zealand can be seen here.)

Image: The stranded plane at Narita International Airport on 30 July (NHK via Twitter)

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  1. They should have called in Joe Patroni. He’d have sorted it out in a flash.

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