Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Driving lesson nearly causes air disaster in Philippines

A Philippine man nearly caused an air disaster when he used an airport runway to teach his girlfriend to drive just as a passenger plane was about to land, a local official said on Tuesday.

A Cebu Pacific Air flight carrying 80 passengers was descending at the weekend at the airport in Legazpi City, 360 kilometres south-east of Manila, when the pilot quickly pulled up after he saw a passenger van moving fast on the runway.

Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said that the van was driven by the son of the city aviation chief who was teaching his girlfriend how to drive.

"That van could have turned us into a fireball had I not successfully aborted landing," Rosal quoted the French pilot as telling aviation security officials.

The plane was able to land safely after circling in the air for a few minutes to allow the van to leave the runway.

Rosal said he requested the immediate suspension and transfer of the aviation official who allowed his son to use the airport runway as a private driving area.

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