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Inquiry opened into Lyon airport runway car incident

An inquiry has been opened into the storming of the runway at Lyon-Saint-Exupéry airport, which saw a man with “psychiatric fragility” drive a stolen car in front of planes before being stopped by police.

The incident, which took place yesterday morning (Monday September 10) saw a stolen Mercedes 350 being driven through security barriers and glass panels, over grass and boulders, and down service roads at Terminal 1, to reach the runway where planes taking off.

The 31-year-old driver, whose identity has not yet been revealed, had stolen the offending vehicle - which had a Luxembourg licence plate - from a service station near Dijon earlier in the day, at around 09h30.

After being spotted driving the wrong way down the A43 motorway between Lyon et Chambéry at around 10h30 - sparking a chase by motorway agents CRS and a police helicopter - the driver stormed the airport.

Police vans chased the vehicle and managed to stop it, at which point the driver got out of the car and continued to run. He was finally stopped by security forces using a Taser gun, but was not otherwise injured.

A video taken by a passenger of a nearby grounded plane (below, in an edit by news source Nouvel Obs) shows the moment that the driver was stopped.

The driver is now in police custody, with an inquiry opened by the public prosecutor's office in Lyon for "attempted murder by an organised group or association, organised and carried out in a danegrous way".

The man's motive has not yet been confirmed, but he has been described as having a "fragile" psychological condition.

The driver is not said to have any evidence of radicalisation or similar, but early police reports show that he said: "I have been sent by Allah" during the incident.

He has never been to prison or served any kind of sentence, but in 2007 and 2009 was charged for driving on a suspended licence without car insurance.

One airport ground staff member was slightly injured in the incident.

All planes at Lyon were grounded immediately - with around 100 flights cancelled - and the airport closed for several hours, forcing other flights to divert.

The airport reopened at around 16h, with 79 planes scheduled for take off before the end of the day yesterday. The airport is operating normally today (Tuesday September 11).

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