A RYANAIR plane from London Stansted was "seconds away" from smashing into the ground with 166 people on board.
An automated alert warning "pull up! pull up!" sounded as the jet came just 40 seconds away from hitting the ground as it approached Bergerac in south west France.
A report into the near miss found that the airline captain and trainee co-pilot had "lost awareness" of what was happening in the 2015 incident.
The Times reported that the Boeing 737 came within less than 800ft to the ground - dropping at 900ft a minute with 166 people on board.
The captain, 57, and trainee first officer, 27, realised the situation - with the pilot applying full take-off power to climb back into the sky.
The Bureau of Inquiry and Analysis (BEA) said in the report that the incident was down to the crew - saying that they had not handled the procedure needed to land.
It also stated the standard instrument landing system at the French airport was out of service with the captain not using the alternative, more modern satellite navigation.
Automated alerts had started to sound, warning "Terrain, terrain" as the situation unfolded about nine miles from the Bergerac airport.
The report said that both the captain and trainee first officer "realised that they had lost awareness of the situation" after landing.
The co-pilot, who only had 400 hours of experience and did not have an airline pilot's licence, had never executed the approach - something the captain had not realised.
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Meanwhile, the captain was distracted by noise in his headset.
Since the incident, Ryanair banned its pilots from performing similar “non-precision” approaches while using the automatic pilot to command the rate of descent.
Ryanair has been contacted for comment.