A student pilot has been apprehended by Florida police when he attempted to hop a security fence and board a passenger jet.
The pilot has been identified at Nishal Sankat, a 22-year-old student attending the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne. Authorities revealed the suspect is a dual citizen of Canada, Trinidad and Tobago. He had entered the country legally, and he has been attending the Florida Institute of Technology since 2014. Back in January, Sankat obtained an official commercial pilot certificate.
Police are still unsure what the suspect’s intentions or motives were. They have confirmed that he arrived at the airport’s main entrance at around 1:15 A.M. He attempted to go into the main doors, but they were locked. Instead of leaving, Sankat walked around the airport’s perimeter until he found an area surrounded by fencing. The student then jumped over the fence and began running full speed towards American Airlines Airbus A321.
Thankfully, one technician and a maintenance supervisor were both conducting routine maintenance on the aircraft, so Sankat was confronted immediately. The student ignored the two and headed for the cockpit, so they stopped and detained him. They forcibly removed Sankat from the aircraft until police arrived.
Police confirmed that Sankat attempted to flee when they arrived, but the situation was contained very quickly. As a result, the airport was put on lockdown for about five hours. The suspect has no known links to terrorist organizations, and he wasn’t carrying any weapons or explosives. The FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force and Melbourne Police Department are working closely together in this investigation.