An Associated Press investigation documented 268 instances in which people hopped over, crawled under, drove cars through or otherwise breached the fences and gates protecting the perimeters of 31 of the nation’s busiest airports between January 2004 and January 2015. Here’s a look at some of those breaches.
INTOXICATED IN SEATTLE: In October 2014, a 22-year-old woman drove an Acura through a guarded gate at Seattle-Tacoma International, striking an exiting airport vehicle. She then drove to a terminal gate, near taxiing planes with passengers. Authorities said she and her passenger were visibly intoxicated. “I am so dumb! My mom is going to kill me,” she told officers.
DEAD BATTERY IN D.C.: In July 2008, a Potomac River boater’s battery failed, so he paddled to shore and jumped fencing at Washington’s Reagan National to go through a secure area and reach his vehicle to charge the battery. He went back over the fencing and reinstalled the battery.
CHARLOTTE STOWAWAY: In November 2010, a 16-year-old reached a parked airplane at Charlotte Douglas International in North Carolina and hid in the wheel well. He fell when the landing gear opened on approach to Boston and his body was found in a suburb. Authorities never determined how he reached the secure area, but many investigators believed he climbed a tree with a branch that hung over a perimeter fence.
TICKETLESS IN ATLANTA: In August 2012, a man who ran past a security guard near a cargo area at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International dashed across two runways before tug drivers spotted him and called police. He told authorities that he was supposed to be catching a flight to Detroit, but he had no ticket [—] just $3.50 and a phone charger.
STOWAWAY SURVIVOR: In April 2014, a 15-year-old boy who hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet and survived a flight from California to Hawaii told police that he had scaled a security fence at Mineta San Jose International. Police couldn’t find where he had done so, and video cameras did not capture the breach.
FLORIDA FENCE DIGGER: In September 2014, a man dug under a fence at Orlando International, crossed a tarmac and climbed into a JetBlue plane’s wheel well, where he remained for hours. Eventually, he was arrested.
NO I.D. IN MIAMI: In August 2007, a man drove toward a security gate at Miami International, pulled out a picture of Jesus for his identification and told the guard to call police if he wanted. The man then drove onto the airfield, where he was chased down by officers and arrested.
NEAR COLLISION IN PHOENIX: In April 2006, a pilot told air traffic controllers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International that he nearly collided with a man on the runway as he was about to take off. The suspect was arrested, and told authorities that he jumped the fence to take a shortcut —as he had three days earlier without being caught.