A regional jet preparing to take off at LAX on Tuesday had to slam to a stop when an airport vehicle drove on the runway.
Thankfully, air traffic control alerted the pilot in enough time to avert an accident. All 78 passengers and the driver were unharmed. The car was an official airport vehicle driven by a Los Angeles World Airports employee, according to the L.A. Times.
The Times described the incident as “unusual,” but such near-misses are more common than you’d think. Less than two months ago, an elderly driver drove onto an airport’s taxiway and runway in Winnipeg, Canada—no one was hurt. Last year, a car thief crashed through a fence and drove onto an airport in northern England, forcing a KLM flight to circle for so long it almost ran out of fuel.
Planes or vehicles ending up on active runways by mistake happens about three times a day, according to The New York Times. That’s about 1,000 times a year. It’s amazing that what occurred at LAX this week doesn’t happen more often.