September 20, 2018
Early Thursday morning, a student pilot jumped the fence at Orlando Melbourne International Airport and boarded a vacant American Airlines plane, according to officials.
During a news conference, the airport's public information officer Lori Booker explained that a 26-year-old student pilot, as she called him, parked his car at the airport's curb at 2 a.m., jumped the fence and ran into a maintenance facility on the other side of the airport.
Police: Orlando-Melbourne International Airport back open on lockdown
The man, who was born in Trinidad and came into the U.S. through Canada, boarded an Airbus 321, which was not in service, Booker stated. She did not know if the plane had fuel in it or not.
The unnamed man, who does have a Florida driver's license, was spotted by a maintenance worker and that person called the Melbourne Airport Police Department, which took the man into custody within two minutes, Booker said.
The airport's public information officer told Spectrum News 13 earlier in the morning that a student pilot breached security and boarded a plane that was there for maintenance.
The Melbourne Police Department tweeted out that all flights had been suspended and warned people to stay away from the area.
Police conducted a security sweep and in later tweets, the police stated that "the person of interest" had been apprehended.
The man's car was secured and examined with a robotic arm to determine if it was safe, Booker confirmed, adding that the red sedan was towed away.
Booker said it is unknown if the man had a weapon and officials do not know what his motives are at this time. He has since been taken to the Brevard County Jail.
It is not known if the man is currently a student pilot, Booker advised.
When the incident happened, airport personnel and passengers were removed from the airport, however, at 7 a.m. the airport reopened and only two flights were impacted, according to Booker.
Various agencies came together, including Melbourne Police Department, the FBI and a joint terrorism task force.
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