A jet carrying 78 passengers and crew members had to abort take off at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday when a car made a wrong turn directly onto a live runway, according to the USA Federal Aviation Administration, reports The Los Angeles Times.
The incident occurred about 11:50 a.m. at the same time air traffic controllers were dealing with requests for emergency landings from two other airliners.
A Los Angeles World Airports employee driving an official airport vehicle had mistakenly turned onto the runway from a taxiway and was heading directly towards the twin-engine jet.
“We can’t immediately confirm when the last time a runway incident involving a vehicle last occurred, but this is extremely rare,” said Nancy Castles, a spokeswoman for LAWA who has worked for the LAX operator for 20 years.
FAA officials said they will investigate the incident. The Compass jet, which was flying for Delta Connection, departed for Kansas City International Airport after a short delay.
Airport officials said they intercepted the car and later rescinded the employee's authorization to drive on airfield service roads.
The driver had not been cleared to go on or near runways, officials said.
The emergency landings included a Delta Airlines A330 from Atlanta to Honolulu that diverted to LAX because of a medical emergency and landed about 11:55 a.m.
The other urgent landing involved an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 from LAX to Seattle, which returned because of a mechanical issue and landed without incident shortly after midday.
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