GLASGOW (Reuters) - A four-wheel-drive vehicle raced across a central reservation and rammed into the front doors of Glasgow airport’s main terminal on Saturday before exploding in flames, Glasgow police and witnesses said.
A Glasgow police spokeswoman said there were no immediate reports of any injuries and said the blaze was extinguished. She said two people had been arrested following the incident.
Witnesses told the BBC the vehicle, a Land Rover or a Jeep Cherokee, had exploded shortly after crashing into the glass front doors of the terminal, and said there was a heavy stench of petrol. Another said it already appeared to be on fire as it raced towards the building.
“It raced across the central reservation and went straight into the building,” said taxi driver Ian Crosby, who was waiting outside Glasgow’s Terminal One.
Crosby said a stocky Asian man had got out of the car and was quickly tackled to the ground by angry bystanders.
“It would appear to me to have been a deliberate attack. I think this was a terrorist attack,” Crosby said.
A separate witness told Sky News that a man attempted to take a gas cylinder from the car before it went up in flames, but that could not be independently confirmed. Another told Sky that the men in the vehicle were wearing boiler suits.
The attack came a day after police in London foiled a possible al Qaeda-type plot involving two car bombs packed with fuel, gas canisters and nails that were parked in central London on Friday night and set to detonate.
Anti-terror police said the car bombs could have killed or maimed scores of people. A large-scale counter-terrorism operation has been launched in the wake of the thwarted plot, which came almost two years after 52 commuters were killed in a series of suicide bomb blasts on London’s transport system.
In Glasgow, another witness told the BBC he was not sure that the car was intended to be a bomb as the explosion that occurred after it crashed was relatively small.
The witness, Stephen Clarkson, who said he had helped tackle one of the occupants of the vehicle to the ground, said another Asian man from the vehicle was badly burnt in the incident. He was detained and taken away by police, he said.
“There was chaos at the airport,” James Edgar, another witness, told Sky News. “Suddenly everyone said to get out of the airport.”
BAA, which manages the airport, confirmed that the airport was closed until further notice. Departing passengers were being put up at local hotels.
Glasgow airport handles around 8.5 million passengers a year, according to its Web site, and would have been packed with holidaymakers at the time of the incident, which took place at around 1515 (1420 GMT), police said.
“It is unknown at present if this is connected with the incidents in London as inquiries are at an early stage,” Strathclyde police said.