Germany: Drugged driver forces a car on the airport tarmac

FILE — In this Oct. 20, 2014 file photo of a building from the Hannover airport is shown in Hanover, Germany. Flights suspended at the Hannover airport in the centre of Germany, after a man tried to drive on the facility’s apron. News agency dpa reported that the federal police said the man, who, in a Polish-registered car, was held on Saturday afternoon. (Holger Hollemann/dpa via AP, file)

BERLIN – A man forced open a locked gate at the security perimeter of Hanover Airport in northern Germany and drove a car at the airport Saturday before coming to a halt under a plane and is being detained, said the police.

No one was injured in the incident, but flights were suspended for more than four hours.

The police said a test suggested that the driver, who told them that he was a 21-year-old man from Poland, was under the influence of drugs and there were no indications that his actions were terrorist-related.

The man drove his BMW on the airport apron after forcing open a gate, and was chased by the police, until he came to a halt under a Greek airline to an Airbus A320 that was on the tarmac with 172 passengers on board, a statement said the police. Agents overpowered the man in his car and arrested him.

Takeoffs and landings were halted while police experts examined the car. They found no traces of explosives, and flights resumed shortly after 8 a.m. — about 4½ hours after the man drove to the airport. No other hazardous substances were found in the vehicle or on the driver.

The man was believed to be acting alone. He has apparently had no official residence in Germany.

Federal police told the German press agency dpa that the driver tested positive for cocaine and amphetamines. She said that the man was not wearing an id.

The police statement later Saturday, said authorities had taken a blood sample and were still trying to be sure of his identity.

The police opened an investigation on suspicion of dangerous interference in air traffic and resisting the officers, and were considering whether the man taken before a judge Sunday to try to have him held in custody. His motive remained unclear.

The international airport in Hanover handled 5.87 million passengers last year, although it is not one of Germany’s top hubs.

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