Flights suspended after high-speed car chase on runway at French airport

Mercedes driver sped through the terminal then turned onto the tarmac while being pursued by police

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2018, 9:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2018, 9:27pm

French police arrested a man on Monday following a high-speed chase on the runway at Lyon airport after the driver rammed his car into the terminal and drove through the building.

Police said they began pursuing the white Mercedes when it was spotted speeding the wrong way down a nearby motorway.

The driver first smashed through a security barrier at the Lyon-Bron business airport before changing direction and heading to Lyon’s main Saint-Exupery airport about 20km away.

There he rammed into automatic glass doors near the main entrance to Terminal 1 and drove through the building, smashing through another set of doors before emerging on the runway, chased by about a dozen police vehicles and a helicopter.

A video posted online showed the car smashing into the building with a bang and showed the view afterwards of the smashed doors on either side.

The dramatic chase was captured in an amateur video posted on social media.

It showed the car hitting a bump at one point, being lifted off the ground by the impact and then landing in a cloud of dust.

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After continuing for a few metres the driver then abandons the car while it is still moving and tries to flee on foot.

He dodges several police vehicles before being wrestled to the ground by officers. It was not clear whether he was armed.

Nobody was injured in the incident, which led to the suspension of all flights in and out of Lyon Saint-Exupery airport, France’s third largest.

A police source said the man’s motives were not yet known and regional security authorities said Lyon prosecutors had opened an inquiry.

The airport’s operator said a Twitter that after an “incident” traffic had been suspended until further notice.