French investigators have opened a probe after an Air France jet with some three dozen people on board narrowly avoided hitting the highest mountain in central Africa in early May, according to information published by France's BEA air accident agency, reports Reuters.
The Boeing 777 jet was making a short evening trip from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to Cameroon's largest city of Douala where it was due to pick up more passengers en route to Paris, when it ran into bad weather on May 2.
While cruising at about 9,000 feet, the pilots of Flight 953 diverted northwards to avoid storm clouds, but their route back towards Douala took their jetliner towards the 13,000-foot Mount Cameroun, the BEA and the airline said.
That triggered an emergency warning from an automated ground-proximity warning system urging the crew to take avoiding action, the BEA said in a regular update of new investigations.
The crew climbed straight to 'Flight Level 130' or about 13,000 feet before continuing to Douala. Mount Cameroon, an active volcano, stands at 4,090 metres or 13,400 feet.
Air France said the crew of Flight 953 had reacted in accordance with their training and the plane's manuals but that they had been taken off flying duties for more training.