Illegal immigrant flees from airport

By Annie DavidsonAN MP has said lessons must be learned after an illegal immigrant escaped from a plane at Stansted Airport - having been refused entry to the UK.

By Annie Davidson

AN MP has said lessons must be learned after an illegal immigrant escaped from a plane at Stansted Airport - having been refused entry to the UK.

The man fled down the runway after being escorted to a plane by immigration officials at about 7pm on Sunday.

Flights in and out of the airport were halted for an hour as an extensive search, including the Essex Police helicopter, was carried out for the illegal immigrant.

He had arrived on Ryanair flight from from Italy earlier in the day, but immigration officials believed his documentation was forged.

They decided to refuse him entry to the UK and escorted him to a Ryanair flight back to Bergamo, Milan, when the man managed to escape.

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Sir Alan Haselhurst, Saffron Walden MP, whose constituency includes Stansted Airport, said: “Obviously I deplore any lapse in security and I have no doubt at all that BAA, Stansted's owners, will continue to revise procedures to make sure we don't get a repeat of it.

“No system is totally proof against the unexpected happening and they obviously learn from every incident.”

Sir Alan said the escape “seemed absolutely extraordinary” and added: “Obviously it is not something one would be complacent about at all.”

As the man had arrived on a Ryanair flight earlier that day from Bergamo, Ryanair was responsible for returning him to Italy.

A spokesman for Ryanair said it would be looking at how immigration dealt with such incidents to try to prevent a similar situation arising in the future.

“We don't want situations arising where deported passengers cause delays to our flights. It is a very small minority who get through with fake passports,” he said.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: “We had a passenger who arrived in on a flight on Sunday evening whose documentation was not correct, therefore immigration refused him entry to the country.

“He was returning out on the same flight back to Italy, but he disappeared onto the airfield. This resulted in a police search on the airfield and the runway was shut for a short period of time.

“Unfortunately, he was not found. This resulted in minimal disruption to the airport itself.”

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said the man was now wanted as an illegal immigrant and added he was black and believed to be from Nigeria.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office, which is in charge of immigration, said it was aware police were investigating an incident at the airport, but added it could not comment on individual cases.

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