Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Irish golfer Padraig Harrington in take-off scare as jet jolts to halt on runway

Padraig Harrington

Irish golf legend Padraig Harrington and his caddie were among more than 200 plane passengers who were at the centre of a take-off scare in dense fog.

Mr Harrington (40) and Ronan Flood were seated in the business section of an Etihad Airways A330-200 aircraft at the centre of the incident at Abu Dhabi Airport early yesterday.

The champion golfer was returning home following a disappointing showing at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

As the jet was taxiing down the runway to prepare for take-off, he and the other 205 passengers experienced a severe jolt followed by a sudden shaky halt.

Initially, the captain said the take-off for flight EY045 from Abu Dhabi to Dublin had been abandoned due to dense fog.

But a spokesman for the airline later admitted the aircraft was forced to abort its take-off when the left tyre on its front landing gear punctured, shattering lights on the airport's main runway.

The incident led to massive disruptions in the busy Emirates hub, with dozens of flights either delayed or diverted. The flight eventually left about 12 hours late.

Etihad Airways issued an apology yesterday, noting that the incident was being investigated.

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