Just as a Southwest Airlines plane was loading passengers for takeoff, a stolen truck crashed into the plane’s nosegear, ending a wild chase in a frightening demonstration of how easily airport security can be breached.
The incident occurred at Omaha’s Eppley Airfield about 9:30 Thursday night, when a man who was being chased by police breached the security fence and got onto the runway area, ABC News reported.
Officers first went after the man when he was acting “bizarre” in front of the airport, and screaming that people were trying to kill him, according to Tim Conahan, Chief of Police for the Omaha airport.
He ran into a parking garage, exited the garage, then jumped the fence onto the runway. At some point during the chase, the man stripped down to his boxer shorts.
He discovered a Southwest Airlines pickup truck sitting unlocked with its engine running, and helped himself, driving the truck across a north ramp. Police cut him off, so he went back and drove underneath a jet bridge, slamming into the Southwest Boeing 737 plane as passengers were boarding the plane.
Reportedly about 18 passengers were already on board the plane. The pilot, already in the cockpit, got a bump on the knee and a flight attendant bumped her elbow. The plane was headed for Denver, but was taken out of service for repairs.
A three-hour delay was expected, as Southwest replaced the plane and the flight crew in order to make the flight.
The man was taken into custody by police. His name or ethnicity has not yet been released. Police report they suspect his behavior was due to a drug overdose or mental issues.
— StephVintonPollock (@VintonPollock) August 26, 2016
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