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Hero father-of-two airport worker tells how he sprinted with an injured leg to stop runaway cart

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Jorge Manalang, from Northbrook, Illinois, was praised for halting the spinning cart at Chicago O'Hare International Airport

Jorge Manalang, from Northbrook, Illinois, was praised for halting the spinning cart at Chicago O’Hare International Airport

The brave airport worker who was filmed averting disaster at Chicago O’Hare has spoken out about his heroics.

Jorge Manalang, from Northbrook, has told how he sprinted with an injured leg to stop an out-of-control catering truck from damaging a $15million jet before ploughing into it. 

The American Airlines employee, 56, was praised after a viral video emerged of him driving into the spinning cart after a water crate fell on its accelerator – causing it to perform donuts. 

President Donald Trump today congratulated the worker for his quick-thinking actions, tweeting that he got there ‘just in time’. 

The father-of-two, who grew up in Chicago, said he raced from one gate to another after seeing the cart spin for almost a minute, before he hopped into a pushback tractor to topple it over.

‘I was at another gate and I ran to G8 with my bad leg. I ran so fast. I think a girl was driving the cart and she had a case of bottled water and it fell on to the gas pedal and started turning in reverse,’ he said. 

‘When I saw the cart turning for almost a minute, I started to think how it could be stopped and I saw the pushback parked right on the nose gear of the aircraft. 

‘That’s why I ran to it and hit the cart’.

Mr Manalang, who has worked at the airport for six years, was praised by his bosses for stopping the Embraer 145 jet from being damaged, but was also told that he ‘risked his life’.

‘My boss called me saying that was good work but that I risked my life by saving the aircraft,’ he said. 

The father-of-two, who grew up in Chicago, said he raced from one gate to another after seeing the cart spin for more than a minute, before hopping into a pushback tractor to topple it over

The father-of-two, who grew up in Chicago, said he raced from one gate to another after seeing the cart spin for more than a minute, before hopping into a pushback tractor to topple it over

 The father-of-two, who grew up in Chicago, said he raced from one gate to another after seeing the cart spin for more than a minute, before hopping into a pushback tractor to topple it over

‘I know my move was all safe because I started thinking “what’s going to happen if we have another aircraft damaged?”‘

Mr Manalag, who is married to wife Elisa, said he felt ‘touched’ after President Trump tweeted, ‘Great job, just in time!’.

‘I was so touched that the president saw it too,’ he said.

The employee, who is father to Joyce, 22, and Justin, 16, said he did not expect the video to go viral and has been inundated with messages congratulating him for his heroic efforts. 

The US President congratulated the airport employee for his quick-thinking actions, saying he had got there 'just in time'

The US President congratulated the airport employee for his quick-thinking actions, saying he had got there ‘just in time’

He said: ‘My phone has not stopped getting messages congratulating me’.

The viral clip emerged when Dr Kevin Klauer, an osteopathic physician, captured the dramatic moment from the departures lounge as he waited for a flight to Tennessee.

Jorge Manalang saved the day when he ploughs into the side of the out-of-control cart

Jorge Manalang saved the day when he ploughs into the side of the out-of-control cart

In the footage, a female worker is sent flying backwards when the spinning vehicle, which is owned by American Airlines, slams in to her.

As eight airport ramp workers watch on helplessly, the footage shows cans of drink falling from the cart and exploding on to the concrete.

Mr Manalang runs towards the spinning cart before ducking around it and disappearing from shot.

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As it inches closer to a grey jet Dr Klauer says: ‘It’s going to hit the airplane here it goes.’

Suddenly Mr Manalang starts up the engine of a second red vehicle and ploughs into the side of the catering van until it is pushed on its side.

As the cart topples over – sending packets of food and canned drinks spilling out on to the tarmac – those watching from inside the airport applaud his bravery. 

The cart spins closer to the multi-million dollar jet as eight workers watch on helplessly

As the cart topples over, sending packets of food and canned drinks spilling out on to the tarmac, those watching from inside the airport applaud the worker's bravery

As the cart topples over, sending packets of food and canned drinks spilling out on to the tarmac, those watching from inside the airport applaud the worker’s bravery

Dr Kevin Klauer filmed the moment the vehicle's performed doughnuts as it span around in a circle at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (file image)

Dr Kevin Klauer filmed the moment the vehicle’s performed doughnuts as it span around in a circle at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (file image)

‘Case of water fell off the seat in the unmanned cart, landing on the accelerator pedal,’ said Dr Klauer.

‘Hero comes out of nowhere with the only safe option. Not only was it a safe way to handle it, he avoided millions in damage to that aircraft.’  

And after the video was posted to Twitter people praised Mr Manalang’s quick thinking. 

Cans of drink fall from the cart and explode on to the concrete as it spins erratically

Cans of drink fall from the cart and explode on to the concrete as it spins erratically

However, others were concerned Mr Manalang might actually be reprimanded for his efforts.

‘Now his boss is going to charge him for the damage to his cart,’ Ben says.

Gilley added: ‘That guy just saved major damage to that plane and his bonus will probably be “you can have all the cans on the ground that didn’t burst”  We see you O’Hare hero!’

EB James said: ‘That ramper should receive a check for half of what that airline didn’t have to pay to fix a multi-million dollar aircraft.’ 

After the video was posted to Twitter people praised Mr Manalang's quick thinking

After the video was posted to Twitter people praised Mr Manalang’s quick thinking

American Airlines also praised Mr Manalang’s efforts, saying they appreciated the ‘quick action of our team member’.

A spokesman said: ‘No American Airlines team members were injured and the incident resulted in one 10 minute flight delay. 

‘We appreciate the quick action of our team member who stopped the vehicle. 

‘Safety is our top priority and we are working with our partners to investigate the incident.’

Chicago O’Hare International Airport has been approached for a comment.  

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