Orlando Melbourne International Airport reopens after security breach; man arrested


Florida’s Orlando Melbourne International Airport has reopened after an early morning security breach Thursday morning, and a 22-year-old college student is now in police custody, authorities said.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: Airport officials said the suspect was a 22-year-old part-time college student from Trinidad and Tobago who had a pilot’s license. Authorities had earlier said the suspect was 26.

The man parked his car outside the terminal and left it running, police said. He then ran through the grass and jumped the barbed-wired fence to gain access, officials said.

"This is a first for me. I fly out of here two to three times a year. This is an odd incident," traveler Lenny Rife said.

An airport employee saw the man enter the Airbus 321, and called airport police, who then called the Melbourne Police Department, MIA representative Lori Booker said.

The man was confronted by two airport maintenance workers inside the cockpit, but he managed to get away. The man was later tackled by the workers and held on the ground near the maintenance hangar until police arrived, officials said.

Florida Institute of Technology released this statement: “Florida Institute of Technology has monitored this morning’s incident at Orlando Melbourne International Airport. The university has confirmed that the suspect from Trinidad & Tobago is a part-time Florida Tech student studying aviation management who had completed some flight training in the past. It would be inappropriate for the university to release the suspect’s name, and law enforcement is continuing its investigation. University officials will collaborate with authorities to further review this matter. No additional information is available at this time.”

Update 7:59 a.m. EDT Sept. 20: Airport officials said a college student with a pilot’s license breached airport security and boarded a full-size passenger jet that was undergoing maintenance.

The student jumped the fence to gain access, officials said. An airport employee saw the man enter the Airbus 321, and called airport police, MIA representative Lori Booker said.

Airport police apprehended the man and called Melbourne police.

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"Melbourne Police Department responded within two minutes, " Booker said.

The student's car, which was parked outside the terminal, was towed after a robotic device searched it, Booker said. 

The FBI and the Terrorist Task Force also assisted in the investigation. 

The man, whose name has not been released, was born in Trinidad and entered the U.S. through Canada, Booker said. 

Booker also said the man had a Florida driver's license.

Update 7:08 a.m. EDT Sept. 20: The airport has reopened, Melbourne police tweeted just before 7 a.m. EDT Thursday. Travelers should check with their air carriers to see whether their flight was delayed, police said.

 

Original report: Florida’s Orlando Melbourne International Airport is closed due to police activity, officials said Thursday morning.

 

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All flights have been suspended, officials said.

Police are asking people to avoid the area.

The airport will be closed until further notice, police said.

Melbourne officials said that a college student with a pilot’s license breached airport security and boarded a full-size passenger jet that was undergoing maintenance.

The student jumped the fence to gain access, officials said.

The student was apprehended by airport police.

The airport is being secured, and the student’s car that is parked outside the terminal is being investigated. 

The student’s name has not been released.

 – Visit WFTV.com for the latest on this developing story.


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