From Aero-News Network:
The FAA and NTSB are investigating how a Delta Boeing 767 from Rio de Janeiro wound up landing on a taxiway, rather than on Runway 27R at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
… according to preliminary information received from several sources, on Monday October 19, 2009 at 0605 EDT, a Boeing B767-332ER operating as Delta Air Lines flight 60 from Rio de Janeiro landed on taxiway 'M' at ATL after being cleared to land on runway 27R. No injuries to any of the 182 passengers or 11 crewmembers were reported.
I don't profess to know what goes on in the cockpit but usually smart people are at the controls. How you lose your place and get on a taxi way is beyond me, but I don't sit in the front seats when I fly. I take it on faith that the two holding those seats have the notion of the difference between a runway and a taxi way. Maybe they were tired (that's a 9 ½ hour flight) or distracted; they did call in a medical emergency very close to being cleared to land, so anything could have happened. The scary part is that this taxiway is situated near the center of the airport complex between the runway and all 7 terminals of the Hartsfield complex.
I used to travel a lot on Delta, having to work in Jacksonville FL or San Diego CA and NOT wanting to fly on an Airbus aircraft, Delta was the only option. I know from going in and out of ATL to JAX or SAN that this crew was very lucky there was not another aircraft on that taxi way. It could have been a real mess had a Jumbo been working its way to the departure end of 27R using taxiway 'M'.
BT: Jimmy T sends.