Washington: A drunk driver drove through a gate and onto a runway
at Philadelphia International Airport, sparking a terrorism scare and
forcing a passenger plane to abort its landing at the last minute,
authorities said. Flights at Philadelphia International Airport were
halted for 35 minutes on Thursday after Kenneth Richard Mazik, 24, drove
through a gate into a restricted area and onto a runway.
was taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence,
recklessly endangerment, resisting arrest, defiant trespass, criminal
mischief, aggravated assault and simple assault, media reports said today.
Don Chapman, local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers
Association in Philadelphia said he was told an air traffic controller
using radar spotted something on the runway, but could not see exactly
what it was because of foggy conditions.
"When they spotted the
Jeep there was a US Airways Express plane 100 feet above the ground. It
was 10-15 seconds (from) touchdown, about a quarter mile from the end of
the runway," Chapman said. He said the controllers then ordered the
approaching plane not to land. The jeep was reportedly dark in colour and
did not have its headlights on and authorities chased the vehicle across
three of the four runways.
US Federal Aviation Administration
spokeswoman Arlene Salac said the airport was closed for about 35 minutes.
In addition to the one aircraft about to land, four other aircraft went
into holding patterns until the airport reopened, she said. The FBI and
the Transportation Security Administration have opened investigations into