Passenger Runs Onto Tarmac, Tries to Pry Open Plane Door at MEL
A male passenger who showed up at Australia's Melbourne Airport (MEL) hours late for his flight was arrested after he ran onto the tarmac and tried to pry open an aircraft door for another flight.
When the 57-year-old man showed up late for his flight to Adelaide (ADL), he became unruly when gate agents told him he wouldn't be able to board the Jetstar aircraft. According to witnesses, the unidentified man then smoked a cigarette (which is not allowed inside the airport), knocked over a computer and physically assaulted the airline's gate agents.
Then he made a break for it.
The man bolted for the gate — running onto the tarmac and up to the first plane he could reach. An airport witness told Australia's 9News that he was physically fighting with airport staff, "punching and scratching them," on the portable stairs leading to the door of the empty aircraft.
Somehow the man made it past the employees, up to the door where he yanked the handle so hard he even put his foot on the side of the plane for extra leverage — he ended up unsuccessful in opening the door. The flight operated by that aircraft was ultimately delayed for nearly two hours on its journey to Sydney (SYD), as the injured crew had to be replaced and the aircraft had to be inspected.
Australian Federal Police arrested and charged the man with one count of unlawful assault on an airline employee. Three airline staffers were reportedly treated for injuries after the incident, so the man could face additional charges after the authorities' investigation is complete. The man is due in court on June 12.
The man has been banned from all Jetstar flights. Qantas, Jetstar's parent company, also banned him for life. "This behavior is unacceptable and we have placed an immediate ban on this passenger travelling on all Jetstar and Qantas flights,” an airline spokesperson told 9News.
H/T: Fox News