iPhone users drive onto runway in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A glitch in the Apple Maps app on newer iPhones and iPads guides people up to a runway at a major Alaska airport instead of sending them on the proper route to the terminal, an airport official said Wednesday.

The map actually stops at the tarmac, but twice this month, wayward drivers have continued across an active runway.

“It doesn’t actually tell you to cross, but the problem is, people see the terminal then at that point, because they are right there, and they just continue across,” said Fairbanks International Airport spokeswoman Angie Spear.

There were no injuries in either the Sept. 6 incident or the second one last Friday, mainly because they both happened early in the morning, between flights.

“Obviously, it could have been a very, very, very dangerous situation had they come during a flight departure or arrival,” Spear said.

That entrance to the taxiway has now been barricaded from traffic.

The first incident involved an out-of-state visitor trying to return a rental car before a flight, and the second was an Alaska resident trying to get to the airport.

Once the control tower and airport personnel noticed the cars, the people were safely escorted away.

“Both parties that did it said they were following the directions on their iPhone,” Spear said.

In July, state Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, had a close call of his own when he was trying to make a flight after a meeting.

He was in an unfamiliar part of Fairbanks and decided to use his iPhone map app to take the shortest route to the airport.

Gara said the app took him to some weird places in Fairbanks, and then to the small plane airport near the international airport.

“Eventually, it told me to make a right onto the small plane runway, which in fact was the shortest way to get to the big airport,” he said. “I give the iPhone app credit for that.”

But he did not heed the directions: “I’m not a big fan of driving on runways.”

After the first incident, airport personnel immediately attempted to contact Apple. The airport is a state facility, and the Alaska attorney general’s office also reached out to the Apple legal department.

“It was our understanding it would be taken care of last week,” Spear said, but then the second mishap happened Friday. The app was still incorrect Wednesday morning, she said.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple didn’t immediately return a message to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

To be fair, the drivers deserve some blame.

The maps stop at the runway, but the drivers continued about a mile through a gate, past warning lights, numerous signs and painted concrete markings saying not to proceed.

“All of these things were disregarded because people simply trusted their device more than they trusted what they were seeing,” she said.

More in Local News

Designed for special emergencies, texting 911 widely misused

The majority of texts dispatchers receive are better handled by calling, a SNOPAC official says.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Arlington woman dies 4 days after Marysville crash

She was on the northbound onramp from Fourth Street to I-5 when her pickup hit a tree and fence.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Everett’s lawsuit against maker of OxyContin can proceed

Purdue Pharma says it’s not liable for the impacts of opioid addiction and wanted the case tossed.

Most Read