MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan 5 – Two time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso escaped unhurt after a private jet in which he was traveling in veered off the runway during take off at Malindi Airport on Sunday.
Alonso who was accompanied by his wife Raquel Rosarion, and fellow tourists Astrain Ander, Rosario Marta and Fernandez Alberto was on his way to Nairobi when the mishap occurred.
Confirming the incident, Malindi Airport Deputy Manager, Mr Ali Farah said the jet’s wing hit a wall as the pilot was taxing from the airport’s parking bay.
Farah added that the incident was minor and that there were no casualties.
The Renault driver was in Kenya for the holiday season and was staying at the Lion in the Sun which is owned by his boss Flavio Briatore who was also on vacation in the picturesque resort town.
Alonso and his entourage returned to the hotel where arrangements for another private jet were being made to fly the Spaniard back home on Monday to commence preparations for the 2009 season.
The jet is still at the parking bay at the Malindi airport awaiting technicians from abroad to arrive and repair it.
Alonso finished fifth in last season’s Formula One driver standings, 37 places behind his former McClaren teammate and 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton.
Alonso who won two races last year has also been linked with a move to Ferrari despite having two years left running in his Renault contract.
Speculation is rife that Alonso might replace former champion Kimi Raikonnen following the Finn’s dismal season by his usual standards.