Man breaches security at London's Heathrow Airport

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

A map of London Heathrow Airport, showing the North runway at the top
Image: Open Street Map.

At around 14:00 UTC today, a man climbed over the perimeter fence and made his way onto the North runway, 27R, at London's Heathrow Airport, the United Kingdom's largest airport. The man, who was carrying a rucksack, then attempted to run in front of a plane on the runway, however it is believed that he was tackled to the ground by armed police before reaching the wide runway.

He was then surrounded by police and around 20 emergency vehicles and explosive experts were called in to perform a controlled explosion on a rucksack. A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman told the press that "A man was arrested and is currently in custody." There have been no reported injuries, and nothing besides personal belongings were found in the rucksack.

Planes queuing near runway 27R

Greenpeace and Plane Stupid have denied involvement with this latest security breach. It comes a day before the Queen is scheduled to open the new Heathrow Terminal 5 building, amid heightened security, which was said to be undergoing testing today, although it is not thought that this event was part of the official testing.

Slight delays were experienced as a result of the North runway being closed during the event, however it has now re-opened and the South runway remained open throughout the event.

The following statement was read by a BAA spokesperson on behalf of BAA Limited, which runs Heathrow:

Airport police swiftly apprehended a man near the northern runway of Heathrow this afternoon. The police arrested the man at about 2 p.m within the airport perimeter. The use of the northern runway was temporarily suspended while police dealt with the incident. The incident ended at about 15:.50 when the northern runway came back into full use. The southern runway remained fully operational throughout the incident. Some short delays have occurred as a result, but we expect to return to normal later this afternoon. Clearly this incident is a matter of some concern, and will be fully investigated in conjunction with the police.

On February 25, Greenpeace activists protesting against the planned third runway managed to access the runway and climb on top of a British Airways Airbus A320 which had just arrived from Manchester Airport. They unveiled a banner in protest of a new runway and were later arrested.


Sources

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