Student Pilot Attempts to Steal an American Airlines Airbus
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
At 2am on Thursday, 22-year-old Florida Institute of Technology student Nishal Sankat was caught attempting to steal a plane from Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) in Florida.
According to USA Today, Sankat had pulled up to the passenger terminal and jumped the fence to the tarmac. He left his car abandoned and running on the other side as he proceeded to enter an out-of-service American Airlines Airbus — likely an A321, given its capacity that USA Today describes as up to 200 passengers. An avionics technician that was working in the galley of the plane immediately caught on to the fishy behavior, questioning Sankat before attempting to escort him into the main hangar facility to contact the police. However, Sankat made a break for it.
“The original employee plus our shift manager jumped in one of our golf carts and impeded his process from getting back to the airplane — he was heading back to the airplane,” STS Aviation Group President Mark Smith.
With the help of other maintenance employees, Sankat was held to the ground before his second run to the Airbus. The workers who were holding him down contacted the Melbourne Airport Police Department and Sankat was taken into custody by two policemen shortly after.
Following the incident, the airport was put on lockdown until 7am that morning. The Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the FBI, is investigating Sankat, who was revealed to be an aviation management student from Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a student pilot at the time. He is currently facing charges of criminal attempt to steal an airplane.
Lori Booker, a spokesperson for Melbourne International, described the technician and his fellow maintenance workers as heroes. According to Booker, Greg Donovan, executive director of the airport, told the men, “I want you to know how very grateful we are for your heroic actions and quick thinking.” Last month, an airliner was stolen and crashed by a rogue employee at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Due to the help of a few astute individuals and their quick thinking, this incident never escalated to such a tragic extreme.
Featured image from Google Maps
This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.
- Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
- No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
- Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
- Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Low $95 annual fee