PHOENIX (AP) – Two men were arrested Christmas Day on opposite sides of the country after they breached perimeters at major airports, raising questions about security measures and whether more needs to be done to protect the nation’s transit hubs.
Robert Edward Bump, 49, scaled a roughly 9-foot, barbed wire topped fence at about 5:30 p.m. at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport before running out onto the tarmac and banging on the engine of an arriving Southwest Airlines plane.
He was arrested a few minutes later after another pilot spotted him and alerted the tower, Phoenix police spokesman Officer James Holmes said.
No injuries were reported, and Holmes said passengers were never in danger.
In New Jersey, a man was arrested Wednesday after authorities found him on the tarmac of Newark Liberty Airport. It’s not clear how Siyah Bryant, 24, of Jersey City, ended up on the tarmac. A phone number for Bryant, who is charged with trespassing, couldn’t be located.
In Phoenix, authorities immediately alerted the pilot of the Southwest Airlines plane, who shut down his engines as Bump approached, airport spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said.
Surveillance video shows the man being surrounded by airport security vehicles as he wandered away from the plane with his arms outstretched as if he were flying. A police officer arrived soon after and arrested him.
Bump showed signs of drug and alcohol impairment and was booked on a misdemeanor charge of entering a restricted area at the airport, said Holmes, adding that the man didn’t explain to authorities during questioning why he did it.
“He didn’t really say anything that made any sense,” Holmes said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Bump has an attorney. Police said he is homeless.
Security on the airport’s runway system has been breached in the past.
In November 2012, a woman rammed through a partially open gate at the Phoenix airport and drove on the runway with her infant son in the car.
Also, Sky Harbor spent $10 million to upgrade its perimeter security and access gates after a man being chased by police in 2005 crashed a stolen pickup through a fence and drove onto the runways, passing several jets on a taxiway.
Ostreicher said the airport does not have a perimeter intrusion detection system that includes motion sensors, but security personnel and dozens of cameras are in place around the facility.
“You are safe as a traveler here. A person who tries to do something like that, however, is in grave danger,” she said.
The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t require airports to maintain full-time surveillance of their perimeter fences, leaving airport security largely in the hands of individual facilities.
Jeff Price, an aviation professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver and former assistant security director at Denver International Airport, said perimeter intrusion detection systems might be needed at the nation’s larger airports as an extra layer, given their prominence and volume of passengers.
Still, installing such a detection system is no guarantee that breaches will be avoided. “There’s no such thing as airtight security,” Price said.
Price said it looked as though people working in the airport tower did as they were supposed to by responding quickly. While perimeter fences are a key part of airport security, Price said an airport relies on many layers of security, including workers required to challenge and report people on air fields who don’t have security badges.
AP writer Brian Skoloff contributed to this report. Correspondent Geoff Mulvihill contributed to this report from Trenton, N.J.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Affordable small home makeovers for Mother's Day
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon
- What you need to know about Alzheimer's disease in Arizona
- Spring clean your windows like a pro with these 8 tips
- 7 films that should have won best-picture Oscars
- New plumbing technology saves money and improves your home
- Survey shows Arizona CFOs optimistic about 2016
- How chronic pain can affect your love life