AMERICAN SAMOA AIRPORT RUNWAY LIGHTS VANDALIZED

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Federal property lights worth thousands were bent and twisted

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Nov. 30, 2010) - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has serious concerns over damage which has been done to the huge guiding lights at the Pago Pago International Airport, which are used by aircraft approaching the runway especially during bad weather.

FAA resident director Smitty Lutu told Samoa News yesterday that this is not the first time that this problem had occurred and he is disappointed that anyone would damage these lights, which are very important to the safety of the aircraft and passengers.Called the ‘medium intensity approach lighting system', some of the lights were bent and twisted and the damage was discovered during an FAA check yesterday morning, said Lutu, who pointed out that these are specialized lights for the system, which cost thousands of dollars.

Lutu suspects that the incident occurred between the time Hawaiian Airlines left Sunday and some time in the early morning hours of yesterday. "Someone could end up being electrocuted for messing with the lights," said the disappointed Lutu, who added that the culprits were probably able to get over the fence onto the airport runway to cause the damage.

Lutu said damaging these lights, which are federal property, is a federal crime and those caught are federally prosecuted. He said the FAA is now working on trying to fix the light system before Thursday night, the next Hawaiian flight into Pago Pago.

He asks if anyone has information about this incident to please contact the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office at 633-1313. The FBI office is located at the second floor of Pago Plaza.

Meanwhile, an off-island team from the FAA are currently here for inspection of the local airports and one of the issues being reviewed is security.

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