Oslo man drives onto runway

A speeding plane misses his car by 10 feet.

Published May 12, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Air traffic controllers at Norway's Bodoe Airport had a new kind of traffic problem on their hands recently when an 80-year-old man drove his car onto an active runway.

According to a Reuters report, the airport authorities had no idea how the man got onto the runway. One minute all systems were go, and the next minute there he was, a real-life Mr. Magoo. Officials surmised that the man, who was out for a drive, took a wrong turn. They just can't figure out how he drove through a normally locked gate, passed an airplane hangar and turned onto an airline runway undetected.

The man got quite a shock when he saw a Fokker 50 plane hurtling toward him at 125 miles an hour. The plane's pilot was also surprised. When he saw the elderly man in his car, frozen on the runway ahead of him, he accelerated and took off early, clearing the vehicle by just 10 feet.

Scandinavian Airlines System spokeswoman Siv Meisingseth said, "This was a very serious incident."

And another reason to fear old age.

By J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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