Differences of opinion on Blair jet mishap in Miami
The Associated PressPublished: December 27, 2006
MIAMI: British Airways said poor lighting at Miami International Airport was responsible for one of its jet's overshooting a runway here with the British prime minister, Tony Blair, and his family aboard, but airport and federal officials said Wednesday that the lights were fine.
No one was hurt in the incident and the plane was not damaged. British Airways Flight 209 from London hit some airfield lights after it landed about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, but it did not leave the tarmac and reached the gate under its own power, airport officials said.
A BA spokesman, John Lampl, said the pilot stopped the Boeing 747 at the end of the runway because he could not see the lights to the taxiway. "Apparently they're doing some resurfacing work and relighting, so the lighting was poor," Lampl said.
But an airport spokeswoman, Lauren Stover, said the lights were working fine. "There was absolutely no construction on the runway," she said. He added that for 10 years the airport had received the highest Federal Aviation Administration safety ratings for its runways, taxiways and airfield.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, Kathleen Bergen, also said that the lights were working properly and that the plane stopped just past the official end of the runway.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board said they too had found that the lights were working properly and that there was no construction in the area, a spokesman said.
Blair and his family were among the 343 passengers on the plane, the U.S. Secret Service said. The prime minister receives Secret Service protection when he is in the United States.
He was traveling to Miami to stay with Robin Gibb of the Bee-Gees, said Gibb's co-manager, John Campbell.
The prime minister's office confirmed that Blair was on a family vacation, but in keeping with standard government practice it declined to provide details for security reasons. Blair and his wife, Cherie, have four children aged 6 to 22.
The British prime minister does not have an official plane and Blair usually flies by chartered jet on official business and by scheduled flight for his vacations.
What shocks me more than anything else is one of the most powerful leaders in the world doesn't have his own jet. EVen our Prime minister gets his own fleet of jets.
"Those Who Don't Learn From The Past Are Doomed To Repeat It."
Hi Murray. I thought the exact same thing. Isn't that bizarre? I would think that security would be a nightmare for him or anyone else boarding a plane he is on. Very odd!
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