A man breached security at Los Angeles International Airport in the early hours of Sunday morning. He reportedly walked into a parked American Airlines aircraft. Employees servicing the plane notified police, who promptly arrested the intruder.
According to Skift’s Brian Sumers, the man breached the perimeter fence at LAX at 04:44 on Sunday morning and “walked into the parked AA aircraft.”
“Early this morning, cleaning crews alerted local law enforcement after noticing a suspicious individual attempting to gain access to a parked aircraft. The individual was taken into custody, and the aircraft has since been reinspected by security teams,” American Airlines told Simple Flying. “We appreciate our cleaning partner’s quick reaction.”
Sumers identifies the aircraft as N826AN, an American Airlines Boeing 787-9. That plane landed in LAX on Friday morning, having operated AA72 from Sydney. After a weekend at LAX, N826AN is slated to head back to Sydney on Sunday evening.
“Wonder what his intention was in cutting through the perimeter fence and accessing an aircraft? This was not the typical incident where a person wanders by accident onto the AOA,” one person posted in response to the incident.
A man used tools to break through an LAX fence at 4:44 a.m, according to @flyLAXairport, and “walked into the parked AA aircraft (tail N826AN) which was being cleaned by the cleaning crew at the time.” The crew alerted police who arrested him for trespassing. 1/2
— Brian Sumers (@BrianSumers) August 29, 2021
Sunday’s incident isn’t the first and won’t be the last trespassing event at LAX. Around 10 years ago, one man made a name for himself by scaling the fence at LAX eight times in an eleven-month period in his quest to board a plane. He ended up in a medical lockup.
In 2015, a sharp-eyed airline employee spotted a man walking along a service road in the airfield operations area.
The airline employee called the police, who arrested the man. He was thought to have scaled a perimeter fence to gain access to the off-limits zone.
In August 2018, a man was arrested on the apron after climbing a fence and running onto the runway.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the man ventured near a Delta Air Lines aircraft before security officials nabbed him. But not before some passengers on that Delta plane got a ringside seat of the unfolding drama.
Bizarre travel day here at #LAX.
Right now sitting on a plane that was readying for takeoff.
Someone ran onto the tarmac and apparently tried to stop / jump onto our plane.
He was just arrested by police. Law enforcement currently searching for foreign objects on runway. pic.twitter.com/vGTCLzNszL
— Zach Wigal 👾 (@ZachWigal) August 27, 2018
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More recently, a potentially more serious security incident occurred when a man drove his vehicle through the perimeter fence at the airport.
According to Fox 11, the man crashed through the fence near the FedEx terminal on June 24, 2021. He then continued driving along internal roads at the airport.
The driver eventually stopped, and police arrested him. However, the intrusion forced the airport to close the two south runways temporarily.
Going through the fence breaches at LAX over the years, a recurring theme is mental illness. These people are frequently a safety hazard rather than a danger. But using tools to crack through a security fence, as happened on Sunday morning, suggests a darker motive than a quixotic quest to board a flight to Mexico.
It is now 20 years since 9/11 put a fresh focus on airport security. You got to ask why it is up to aircraft cleaners to call in the calvary when the perimeter fences at LAX continue to be compromised.
Lead Journalist – Australasia – A Masters level education and appetite for travel combines to make Andrew an incredible aviation brain with decades of insight behind him. Working closely with airlines including Qantas and Virgin Australia, Andrew’s first-hand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing Australian airlines adds exciting depth and color to his work and sees him providing commentary to ABC News and more. Based in Melbourne, Australia.