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Rio tells of 'frightening' near-miss as Man U plane aborts airport landing


 Rio Ferdinand. Photo: Getty

Rio Ferdinand. Photo: Getty

Rio Ferdinand. Photo: Getty

A PLANE carrying the Manchester United squad to Germany for tonight's Champions League clash was forced to abort its landing at the last second to avoid disaster.

The team plane was just about to touch down in Cologne a day ahead of the match against Bayer Leverkusen – but another aircraft was already on the runway.

It has emerged that the 185-seater Monarch Airbus 321 had to dramatically abort the landing so as not to collide with the second aircraft.

Just 400 metres above the landing strip, the pilot was informed of the situation by air traffic control and pulled the plane up.

The pilot was then forced to circle the airport before touching down 10 minutes late at 5.40pm yesterday.

United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted: "Landed in Germany... just... I've only just recovered after that choppy landing."

And a member of the United delegation told the press that it was a frightening scene.

"It was quite frightening. We were coming in to land when we had to pull up suddenly because it appears there was a plane on the runway.

"The captain came on the intercom to apologise for what happened and then we landed safely," he said.

The near-miss will conjure up thoughts of the 1958 Munich air disaster, in which a plane carrying members of the United team crashed, killing 23 passengers including eight players.

The group had been returning from a European Cup tie in Belgrade.