Blair getaway hits runway snag

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A British Airways jet from London carrying Prime Minister Tony Blair missed a runway turnoff and hit some lights after arriving at Miami International Airport on Tuesday evening, drawing police and rescue vehicles that immediately surrounded the aircraft.

No injuries were reported.

The airplane, which landed just after 6 p.m. EST, apparently missed a turn to get to its gate and ended up going into a paved buffer zone, said Laura Brown, a spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Airport spokesman Marc Henderson said the plane hit at least two runway lights.

Blair and several unidentified family members were in first class, flying in for a vacation, said U.S. Secret Service spokeswoman Kim Bruce. Secret Service agents were at the airport awaiting his arrival on Flight 209, an added precaution even though Blair travels with his own security team, Bruce said.

A total of 343 passengers were on the Boeing 747, which arrived from London's Heathrow Airport, according to British Airways' website. The plane was towed to a gate by 7:10 p.m., according to the website and airport officials.

Passengers were allowed to leave the aircraft as usual, Henderson said.

Authorities said the FAA will look into the incident.

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