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Lawnmower and plane in near miss at Dublin Airport !!!

March 4 2010 at 2:28 AM
Von Richter.  (no login)

A near miss between a ride-on lawnmower and a Boeing 757 landing at Dublin Airport could have had catastrophic consequences, a report has said.

The plane, carrying 198 passengers and eight crew, was returning from Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt on 29 May last year.

The incident was investigated by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit.

Its final report, which was released on Wednesday, found that the mower did not have adequate radio communications or lighting equipment.

The mower has since been replaced.

The final report states that there were deficiencies in one airport regulation and in training of Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) personnel involved in this incident. It also recommends that the DAA review their training programmes.

Visibility was poor when the plane landed on Runway 10 at about 0300 BST and was decelerating when the cockpit crew noticed something on the right-hand side of the runway.

"I could have sworn I saw a man riding a lawn mower," the co-pilot is reported as saying.

The matter was immediately reported to the Air Movement Controller in Dublin Airport who replied: "I don't believe it. They told me they were clear of the runway."

The groundskeeper got off the runway seconds after the aircraft passed him.

The plane parked as planned and everyone disembarked safely. No one was injured.

The investigator's report states that there had been problems cutting the grass at the airport due to bad weather and a number of pilots had reported that lights were obstructed by tall grass.

The DAA had decided that cutting the grass was a priority and that was being done on the night in question.

However, grass-cutting operations were halted due to poor visibility and while two of the three grass-cutting machines left the area, there was a misunderstanding with the driver of the third vehicle.

He did not leave the area immediately and was instead proceeding down the runway to take a slip road when the aircraft landed.

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