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Student pilot hops airport fence, tries to steal American Airlines jet

Posted at 1:37 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 13:37:00-04

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a 22-year-old student pilot has been charged with criminal attempt to steal an airplane at a central Florida airport.

Orlando-Melbourne International Airport spokeswoman Lori Booker tells news outlets that the man also has been charged with a visa violation and criminal trespassing. His name hasn't been released.

The case unfolded Thursday morning in Melbourne, on Florida's Atlantic coast.

Booker says the man boarded a vacant American Airlines Airbus A321, which can seat up to 200 passengers. Florida Today reports the plane was blocked in to prevent movement. Two technicians doing work inside the plane confronted him and tackled him. One called police while the other subdued him. He was arrested within minutes.

Booker says the case is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force. They're trying to determine a motive.


MELBOURNE, FL (WESH/CNN) - Authorities are investigating a security breach at Orlando-Melbourne International Airport.

Airport officials said a student pilot breached security early Thursday morning by jumping a fence.

An employee saw him board a commercial jet that was undergoing maintenance and they alerted police.

It's not clear what he was trying to do but police quickly took him into custody.

An airport spokeswoman said the man is 22 years old and from Trinidad and Tobago.

Authorities used a robot to search his car. His car was later towed.

The airport was on lockdown for about five hours but it is now reopened.

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