Padraig in take-off scare as plane's tyre blows out on runway
GOLFER Padraig Harrington and caddie Ronan Flood were among 200 passengers at the centre of a take-off scare in dense fog in Abu Dhabi.
Ireland's three-time Major champion and his caddie were seated in the business class section of an Etihad Airways A330-200 aircraft when the incident occurred.
The pair were returning to Dublin from the Abu Dhabi golf championship over the weekend.
As the plane was taxiing down the runway to prepare for take-off, the golfing stars along with the other 205 passengers and crew felt a jolt to the aircraft. The plane came to a halt and they turned around.
Following the jolt, the captain said the take-off for flight EY045 from Abu Dhabi to Dublin had been abandoned due to fog.
A spokesman for the airline later admitted that the aircraft was forced to abort its take-off when the left tyre on its front landing gear punctured, shattering lights on the airport's main runway and causing major delays.
Harrington lives in his native Dublin along with wife Caroline, whom he married in 1997. The couple have two sons, nine-year-old Patrick and five-year-old Ciaran.
Loyal caddie Ronan, who Padraig counts among his childhood friends, married the golfer's sister-in-law Susie Gregan in 2007.
Padraig enjoyed one of his greatest years on the circuit to date in 2008, when he won the British Open and the PGA Championship.
In 2010, he scooped the title at the Johor Open in Malaysia, his first golf title in two years.
The incident occurred as Padraig was returning from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
The golfing pro was forced to wait up to 12 hours at the airport before he eventually got his journey underway, but the accident led to massive disruptions in the busy Emirates hub.
According to officials, dozens of flights were either delayed or diverted.
Etihad Airways have issued an apology, noting that the incident was being investigated.
The Dubliner did not put in his best performance over the weekend at the competition and has now dropped two spots to 90th in the golf world rankings, despite playing all four rounds in he United Arab Emirates capital.
Meanwhile, fellow Irishman Rory McIlroy has moved up from third place to number two in the world thanks to his runner-up finish in the Abu Dhabi .