A student pilot at the Florida Institute of Technology is in custody after he allegedly hopped a fence at Orlando Melbourne International Airport and boarded an American Airlines jet that was parked in a maintenance area.
The 22-year-old student has been charged with criminal attempt to steal an airplane, a visa violation and criminal trespassing. His name hasn’t been released.
The student drove to the curb outside the airport around 2 a.m. Thursday, left his car running, hopped a fence and boarded the plane, airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said. A maintenance worker spotted him and police took him into custody a couple of minutes later.
Booker said officials conducted a sweep of the airfield before re-opening the airport. In addition, all employees and passengers were removed from the terminal during the incident. It caused two flight delays and interrupted airport operations for about five hours.
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