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Thieves Steal Cable, Disable Airport Tower

March 17, 2006

The control towers at three of the country’s major airports were left without computerized weather and flight-plan information early this week when thieves stole a section of cable near the capital.

The daily La Nación reported that 200 meters of cable were cut and stolen near the RadarControlCenter in Alajuela, northwest of San José, near the JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport. The cable connected the center to the control tower at Juan Santamaría, which in turn sends data to the towers at Tobías Bolaños Airport in Pavas, west of San José, and Daniel Oduber International, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, Eduardo Montero, Vice-Minister of Transport, told the daily the theft could have caused problems in the takeoff and landing of planes, but control-tower staff responded quickly and transmitted the information by phone, fax and radio instead. He said the normal operation of the airports was not compromised.

Montero added that the theft, which appears to have taken place between Saturday night and Sunday morning, was likely committed by an organized group, since they need a ladder or other device to reach the cable, a special tool to cut it, and the means to transport it. He said it is not clear why the thieves wanted the cable.

The cable was replaced Tuesday.

 

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