Security breech affects U.S. Airways flight in Philadelphia

March 02, 2012

DENNIS LAMBERT: A U.S. Airways Express flight was just 15 seconds from touchdown at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday morning when air traffic controllers saw a Jeep barreling down the runway. KJZZ’s Terry Ward joins me in studio now. Terry, how did the Jeep get on the runway?

TERRY WARD: Police say the Jeep crashed through a construction fence, apparently that was the only barrier between traffic and the tarmac – a major security breech there. All air traffic was halted as we hear in this audio of tower personnel:

TOWER: We got a rogue vehicle on the runway. We’re not talking to him… we’re not moving anybody until we find this guy.

WARD: U.S. Airways Express flight #3137 from Raleigh into Philadelphia was directed to pull up and fly around. Police were on the scene very quickly. There was a high-speed chase down the runway for several minutes.

LAMBERT: I’m thinking this could easily have been interpreted as a possible terrorist situation?

WARD: Police were thinking the same thing. Everyone watching this thing unfold thought that was a possibility. There was an Air Wisconsin flight on the tarmac waiting for clearance to take off. Here’s what that pilot said:

PILOT: I don’t trust this guy. Are you OK if we pull off the runway here in case he comes right at us? Yeah, just use caution. The vehicle is heading y’all’s direction right now. He’s on the runway niner-left. Cars are chasing him.

WARD: The whole thing was over in about 10 minutes. In the end, no one was hurt. Police arrested a 24-year old Pennsylvania man on several charges including DUI and reckless endangerment. K-9 units checked the Jeep Cherokee for explosives. None were found.


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