Lyon airport: Police arrest man who smashed through terminal in car | News | DW | 10.09.2018
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Lyon airport: Police arrest man who smashed through terminal in car

After being spotted driving the wrong way down a freeway, a man drove his vehicle into security barriers at Lyon's Saint-Exupery airport in France. He was finally captured on the runway.

A man smashed his car into security barriers at two airports serving the French city of Lyon on Monday, as he was being pursued by police.

Police said they began chasing a white Mercedes when it was spotted speeding the wrong way down the A43 highway that links Lyon to the Alps. Highway police and a police helicopter started a pursuit, the regional government said in a statement.

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 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) away.

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

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

It shows the car hitting a bump at one point, being lifted off the ground by the impact and then landing in a cloud of dust. After continuing for a few meters the driver then abandons the car while it is still moving and attempts to flee on foot. He manages to dodge several police cars before being wrestled to the ground by officers. It was not clear whether the man was armed.

Lyon airport, France | Mann fährt mit Auto auf Flugfeld (Getty Images/AFP/J. Decotte)

Man tries to elude police on runway at Lyon airport

There were no injuries in the incident. Lyon airport's operator suspended all flights after what it termed an "incident," before announcing later Monday afternoon that flights were "gradually resuming" and expected to be back to normal around 6:00 p.m. (1600 GMT).

Psychiatric issues

 A source close to the case said the man suffered from psychiatric problems but did not have a police record. He also wasn't on the country's watchlist for suspected radicalization.

Paris anti-terror prosecutors have been informed of the incident but they have not opened an investigation.
"We're at the early stages of the inquiry, and we're in touch with the Paris prosecutors who will decide whether or not to investigate based on the facts that emerge," Lyon prosecutor Marc Cimamonti said at a press conference.

He added that car was "almost certainly stolen," with a source close to the inquiry saying it had Luxembourg license plates.

av/rc (AFP, dpa, AP)

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