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Man sends Mayday from Merkel plane

Berlin - A man described as “mentally disturbed” broke into one of the planes used by Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers and sent a Mayday signal from the cockpit, a prosecutor in Cologne said Friday.

Police were investigating how the 24-year-old German, who was later taken into custody, managed to enter a secure area of Cologne-Bonn Airport, where the Airbus A319 jet operated by the air force was parked Thursday evening.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer arrive on the red carpet for the opening of the annual Bayreuth Wagner opera festival at the Gruener Huegel (Green Hill) in Bayreuth. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle. Credit: REUTERS

The Koelnische Rundschau reported that he locked himself in the cockpit and triggered an emergency radio signal. Police had to force open the door.

The air force operates 14 planes for use by the cabinet and other top German officials.

Ulrich Bremer, a spokesman for the prosecution, said the man would not have been able to move the plane because its power was off. There were indications the man was disturbed and he was remanded to a psychiatric clinic. - Sapa-dpa

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