Passenger jets travelling 140mph narrowly avoid crashing into ladder on runway

Three planes filled with passengers were forced to dodge stepladder that was lying on a busy runway.

Investigators say it could have caused a serious accident if struck by any of the jets, which were travelling at around 140mph when they landed on the tarmac.

Two electricians failed to spot the 7ft-long ladder had gone missing as they checked runway lights at Birmingham Airport.

The metal A-frame slipped off its bungee cord and landed on the ground while the truck drove along the tarmac at 45mph on September 8 last year.

It was left in the vital "touch-down zone" for more than half an hour as planes landed, the Mirror writes.

A report by Air Accidents Investigation Branch said three jets, operated by Jet2, TUI and Ryanair, fortunately narrowly missed the stepladder.

The electricians realised they had lost it after returning to their depot and it was eventually retrieved by a member of the safety team.

A Ryanair 373 missed the ladder first at around 10.25pm, and was carrying 35 passengers and six crew members.

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Then a Jet2 737, which had 181 flyers on board, touched down two minutes later.

The crew reported seeing something on the runway but initially thought it could be paint markings.

A mere further two minutes afterwards, a TUI 757 jet, carrying 190 passengers, was told about the reported sighting but opted to go ahead with the landing.

The ladder was discovered with minor scuffs caused by the impact of falling on the tarmac.

Also, there was no evidence it had been hit by an aircraft, luckily.

The AAIB recommended improvements to staff training and procedures for vehicles accessing the runway.

Airport chiefs said a full investigation identified necessary changes, adding: “The vast majority of these plans have now been actioned.”

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