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Air traffic controller abandons post as jetliner approaches

Tuesday, March 11, 2014    

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Officials say an air traffic controller abandoned his post at Guyana's international airport as a jetliner was approaching the runway, forcing the plane to circle until a substitute arrived.

Aviation authorities say the controller was frustrated that a colleague did not arrive on time to relieve him after an eight-hour shift. He had also apparently complained of feeling ill.

A Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 from Trinidad had to circle the Cheddi Jagan International Airport for 10 minutes until a manager got to the tower and guided it to safe landing.

In a statement Sunday, Guyana's transport ministry said it has launched an investigation.

Civil Aviation Authority Director Zulfikar Mohamed says the situation ended "without any danger to passengers or anyone," but a probe is needed.

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