March 17, 2009 / 3:30 AM / 11 years ago

Driving lesson on runway, Philippine pilot averts crash

An Alitalia plane approaches to land at Fiumicino International Airport in Rome September 25, 2008. REUTERS/Max Rossi

MANILA (Reuters) - A Philippine plane with 80 passengers aboard was seconds away from a crash when a man teaching his girlfriend to drive sped across the runway as the aircraft landed, newspapers reported Tuesday.

The Cebu Pacific plane briefly touched down at Legazpi airport in the central Philippines Saturday but took off again as the van being driven by the couple crossed the runway, the Philippine Star newspaper said.

The man is the son of a local aviation official, who has been ordered suspended from duty.

“It could have been a disaster if not for the presence of mind of a veteran pilot,” Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal told the newspaper.

Reporting by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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