Man runs onto Heathrow runway

March 13, 2008 9:57:49 AM PDT
Armed police arrested a man carrying a knapsack who ran onto a runway at London's Heathrow Airport on Thursday, authorities said. Police performed a controlled explosion on the bag, but no explosives were found, the Metropolitan Police force said.

One of the airport's two runways was partially closed after the security alert, and a Heathrow spokeswoman said some flights were being delayed. No airport buildings were evacuated.

The Metropolitan Police said the man was spotted on the northern runway just after 2 p.m.

Police said the suspect was arrested by armed officers and confirmed that his knapsack was being examined. A spokeswoman said it was too early to say what the bag contained.

Media reports said the man ran into the path of an airplane.

Plane Stupid, a protest group demonstrating against airport expansion in Britain, said it was not involved and was not aware of any planned protest at the airport. Five members of the group breached security at the Houses of Parliament last month, scaling the building's roof.

On Feb. 25, five environmental activists were arrested after they climbed onto a plane at Heathrow to protest plans to build a third runway there.

The Greenpeace protesters wrapped a banner around the tail fin reading: "Climate Emergency - No Third Runway."

Queen Elizabeth II is due to visit Heathrow on Friday to open the airport's new Terminal 5.