Man arrested in extraordinary French airport vehicle chase

A French gendarmes vehicle speeds on the tarmac of Lyon's Saint Exupery airport

France experienced a day of travel chaos today when Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport was forced to close down for several hours and cancel over 80 flights when a auto smashed through the perimeter fence of the major French hub and drove onto the runway.

He then smashed into a toll booth and charged across airport land chased by 20 police and gendarmerie cars, motorcyclists and a helicopter.

A dozen police cars and a helicopter were in pursuit and officers arrested him after he leapt from the stolen Mercedes.

It shows the vehicle hitting a bump at one point, being lifted off the ground by the impact and then landing in a cloud of dust.

The driver abandoned his vehicle and tried to flee on foot but was surrounded by officers and arrested, an official at the local public prosecutor's office said.

The driver was said to have been driving down the road in the wrong direction and caused "several accidents" before "forcing a toll barrier" and then two doors to gain entrance to the airport.

The driver then leapt from the vehicle and started running.

The Lyon prosecutors' office is investigating possible charges of attempted murder against the suspect.

In a desperate attempt to flee justice, the driver crashed into a barrier at a small aerodrome before heading to Lyon's much larger Saint Exupery airport.

A source close to the case said the man suffered from psychiatric problems but did not have a police record, and was not on the country's watchlist for suspected radicalisation.

The airport has been closed and all flights have been successfully grounded, according to reports.

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