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"British Airways blames Miami airport for Blair plane scare"


 
Wednesday, December 27, 2006

BA blames Miami airport for Blair plane scare


LONDON, (Reuters) - British Airways said on Wednesday poor markings at Miami
airport were to blame for a safety scare involving a jumbo jet carrying
Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Boeing 747, carrying 343 passengers and crew, was not damaged when it
missed an exit on the runway on arrival from London about 6:15 p.m. (2315
GMT) on Tuesday, prompting police cars and emergency vehicles to rush to the
scene.

"The plane overshot the runway by a little bit. There was no damage to the
plane and no injuries to the passengers," Miami airport spokesman Marc
Henderson said.

The Miami Herald newspaper reported Blair and his immediate family were
flying first class and were to vacation in the Miami area.

In London, an airline spokeswoman said the pilot landed exactly as he should
have done but that the turn-off from the runway was not well marked.

"The taxiway was not clearly visible so he radioed the tower for
assistance," she said. "Anything about overshooting (the landing) is
incorrect."

Passengers told local media the airliner broke a couple of lights on the
runway and that police and emergency vehicles surrounded the plane.

The airline spokeswoman confirmed that lights were broken but said this
occurred while the plane was being towed.

"How would you feel if you saw eight police cars rolling up? You expect the
worst," one passenger told Miami television station WSVN.

"It was really calm," said another. "We're very English."

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