Close call: Police apprehend man running towards runway at Frankfurt Airport

Markus Mainka /

A police pursuit using a follow-me car onto an active runway may sound like something out of a film. But such a potentially dangerous incident happened at Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Germany’s largest airport, on December 1, 2021.  

Airport police have provided details of the incident, where a man was arrested near an active runway at FRA, with an arriving plane forced to take action to avoid the fugitive. 

The incident occurred just after 0900 local time on December 1, 2021. The 31-year-old Moroccan national had arrived on a flight from Dubai and managed to slip unnoticed onto the apron after the bus transfer from the aircraft to the terminal building.  

However, a police patrol spotted the man and he ran towards the runway. Airport police then used a follow-me car to pursue the man, arresting him after a short chase.  German air traffic controllers shut the affected runways for take-offs and landings between 0907 and 0918 local time while the incident unfolded.   

“An aircraft on approach was forced to perform a go-around in order to prevent collision with the fugitive,” Frankfurt Airport police revealed in the statement.  

The man has been deported back to the United Arab Emirates, where he lives. Police said the photographer told them he wanted to visit his wife in the Netherlands but had not received a visa, hence his failed attempt to enter the country illegally.   

Police have started investigation proceedings against the man for endangering the safety of air traffic, as well as unlawful entry.  

The incident comes less than a month after around 20 people absconded from a plane at Palma de Mallorca airport in Spain, with illegal immigration suspected.  


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