MINDLESS teenagers risked serious injury as they fooled about on an airport’s runway, forcing a pilot to take evasive action as he attempted to land.
Pilot Craig McLeod, 42, was stunned to see six teens on the runway at Fishburn Airfield, near Sedgefield, County Durham, on Friday (June 7).
Unable to land his Cessna 172 aircraft, the 42-year-old was forced to circle the airfield at 7.30pm as the gang of youths gestured at him.
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Mr McLeod, a flying instructor at the airfield, was finally able to land safely and the teenagers ran away.
Durham Constabulary was called but no-one was arrested for the incident.
Mr McLeod has criticised the teens, who he said could have caused a serious accident.
He said: “I was coming in to land from the east and I could see a couple of people on the runway.
“I went round the airfield to try to see who it was. There were two people there and four others joined them.
“They stood in the middle of the runway and waved at me. I went round again and I managed to land at the western end of the runway.
“Once I’d landed the group ran off. No-one was hurt but if I’d hit them they would have been seriously injured or killed.
“Sometimes people get onto the airfield but they don’t go onto the runway very often. It’s not a regular occurrence.
“There could have been a problem if a pilot saw them at the last minute as they came into land. It could have caused a serious problem and may have destabilised the plane.”
Mr McLeod was with his colleague Mel Clarke at the time of the incident and they were returning from the TT races on the Isle of Man.
The plane was carrying aerial photography equipment but no pictures were taken of the youths.
Dave Morgan, the airfield’s owner, said: “No-one was injured and the police were called but they didn’t find anyone. It could have caused an accident.”
A police spokesman said: “We received a report that six youths had run into the path of an aircraft.
“There are obviously safety concerns in relation to incidents like this. It’s believed they ran off towards Fishburn.”