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Major French airport grounds flights after car drives in terminal, on runway

France’s third busiest airport was forced to shut down on Monday after a man drove a car through a terminal building and then onto a runway before fleeing on foot. 


Image AP/Laurent Cipriani


Police said they began chasing the white Mercedes after it was seen driving the wrong way down a nearby highway. 


According to AFP, the driver had broken a security barrier at Lyon-Brown business airport before heading to Lyon’s main Saint-Exupery hub. 


In a major security scare for the airport, the driver then rammed glass doors at Terminal 1, before driving through the building, more doors and on to the runway. 


A dozen police vehicles and helicopter were involved in the high-speed pursuit, which ended when the man abandoned the car and tried to run away. He was eventually caught by police. 


As a result of the incident, all flights into and out of the airport were suspended. But the airport resumed operations later on Monday.    



“While we were waiting on the runway to take off the pilot alerted us that there had been a 'major incident' and the airport had been closed,” Martial Leveque, 59, told AFP, adding that passengers had to wait 90 minutes before being allowed to disembark.


The 31-year-old man faces charges including attempted murder, relating to injuries sustained by any airport worker.


Whilst a source said the man had psychiatric problems, he did not have a criminal record. 


The car is believed to have been stolen and had Luxembourg number plates.


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 11 September 2018

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