New Zealand newspapers are full of a story about how a 79-year-old All Black great went missing in London while flying from Auckland to Edinburgh with British Airways.
Terry Lineen, an All Black midfield in the 1950s, was found in a distressed state in London after going missing at Heathrow Airport shortly after arriving from Auckland and missing his connection to Edinburgh.
Lineen was to join his son Sean, who is a rugby star in Scotland, on a seven-week holiday during Rugby World Cup, which kicks off on 18 September.
“The family of a well known former All Black is desperately searching London for the 79-year-old who has gone missing from one of the world’s busiest airports,” the Otago Daily Times reported.
Before Lineen was eventually found, his daughter-in-law Lynne made several Facebook posts pleading for help in the search.
Lineen was seen on CCTV leaving Heathrow Terminal 5. Lynne said the family knew Lineen boarded his flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh the morning before his disappearance – but got off the plane before it took off.
British Airways dropped him off in the arrivals hall with no assistance or supervision, Lynne said.
From there he walked out of the arrivals hall and left the terminal without his luggage, Stuff.co.nz reported.
Lineen, who suffers from a range of health issues, reportedly had about GBP 100 (AUD 220) on him but no phone when he left the airport. He was said to be confused and disorientated.
After a search, with police helicopters invovled, Lineen was found after a member of the public reported seeing a distressed man in Twickenham with a bleeding arm. They thought he might have been hurt in a hit and run accident.
Lineen was later reported to be resting in hospital.
Written by Peter Needham