Student Pilot Arrested After Hopping Florida Airport Fence and Boarding Plane: Cops

Nishal Sankat, 22, booked into the Brevard County Jail and was charged with trespass on airport property, burglary and attempted theft of an aircraft.

A student pilot has been arrested after he hopped a security fence and boarded a vacant passenger plane at Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Florida, officials said. 

Nishal Sankat, 22, allegedly parked his red sedan at the curb near the main entrance to the airport at about 1:15 a.m. Thursday, authorities said. 

When he discovered the doors were locked, he allegedly walked the perimeter before jumping a fence and running to an American Airlines Airbus A321, according to authorities.

But he was spotted by employees working on the flight deck who told him, "Get on the ground, mister. You’re in trouble," airport spokeswoman Lori Booker told reporters at a news conference. 

The workers grabbed Sankat and took him off the aircraft before police arrived.

He allegedly tried breaking away, but was quickly apprehended again, officials said. 

Sankat was identified as a student at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, where he reportedly studied aviation management and had completed some flight training.

He is a dual citizen of Trinidad and Tobago and Canada. He entered the U.S. legally, authorities said.

A motive in the case has not been identified. 

Sankat was not armed and was not carrying explosives, officials said.

The airport was closed for five hours following the incident

Sankat was booked into the Brevard County Jail and charged with trespass on airport property, burglary and attempted theft of an aircraft. 

No federal charges have been filed, but the FBI is investigating.


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