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Merkel’s plane damaged as ‘over-excited’ fan causes runway accident

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Merkel’s plane damaged as ‘over-excited’ fan causes runway accident
Merkel inspects the damage on Monday. Photo: DPA
08:56 CEST+02:00
German government planes have been hit by a series of defects in recent months. But this time the problem is not down to the plane itself.

A van at Dortmund Airport, in western Germany crashed into Angela Merkel's plane on Monday. Reportedly the driver was an over-excited fan of the Chancellor. 

According to Spiegel, an airport employee was driving the red van on the tarmac at around noon on Monday. But when she spotted the Chancellor's white plane with the inscription "Federal Republic of Germany" on it, she is said to have jumped out of the vehicle to take a photo with her phone.

SEE ALSO: Not a unique occurrence: How plane problems have plagued German politicians' travel

The enthusiasm for the Chancellor had serious consequences. Since the employee had not put on the handbrake of the Renault van, it rolled slowly forward and rammed the nose of the white "Global5000", which was parked. Merkel had flown in on the plane from Berlin.

The windshield of the bus shattered and the nose of the jet was damaged.

For Merkel, who apparently didn't notice the incident, the breakdown meant a long return journey. Instead of flying back to Berlin with the "Global" in 45 minutes after her appointments in Wuppertal, she had to take the helicopter for the whole trip. Technicians are now trying to work out how badly the jet is damaged.

More plane woes

It's the latest in a series of plane malfunctions to hit the government fleet. Spiegel reports that none of the four "Global" jets are currently available, and one of the large A340s has been in maintenance for weeks. As a result, it is becoming more and more difficult for government organizers to plan appointments for Chancellor Merkel and her ministers.

In recent months, there have been repeated problems with aircrafts: in April a tyre of the "Konrad Adenauer" broke during the landing in New York. And in February Foreign Minister Heiko Maas became temporarily stuck in Mali, West Africa, due to a hydraulic defect in the landing gear of his aircraft.

SEE ALSO: Foreign Minister Maas latest German politician to be hit by plane problems

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was temporarily stranded in Ethiopia at the end of January while Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU) was also held up by an aircraft breakdown during a recent trip to Africa.

Meanwhile, technical problems in mid-April resulted in a dramatic crash landing. Bundeswehr (German army) pilots were flying a jet from a maintenance facility in Berlin-Schönefeld. But they lost control of the aircraft shortly after take-off and had to make an emergency landing. They missed the runway and slid over the lawn. The jet was badly damaged.

The incident resulted in severe passenger delays at the airport.

SEE ALSO: Passenger delays after government plane crash lands in Berlin

Vocabulary

Plane - (das) Flugzeug

Federal government - (die) Bundesregierung

Inscription (die) Aufschrift

Technical problems - (die) technischen Probleme

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