New Delhi: A massive disaster was barely averted on Thursday when the Air Traffic Control at the Mangaluru Airport spotted a vacant tractor parked on the runway just as a Mumbai-bound Jet Airways flight was about to takeoff.
According to news agency ANI, the tractor - used for cutting grass beside the runway, was parked at the end of the runway without anyone inside. A Jet Airways flight had taxied to the other end of the runway and was all set to take off before being issued urgent instructions to abort by the ATC.
Sources in the ATC reportedly said that the unmanned tractor was spotted at the last minute and while planes do not usually make full use of a runway, a parked vehicle here is nonetheless a massive breach of safety protocol. Besides, the Mangaluru airport is referred to as having a table-top runway in aviation circles. In 2010, an Air India Express plane had overshot the runway here and fallen off the cliff - killing 158 people on board.