Airport Perimeter Security Scrutinized After Utah Breach
After pilot and murder suspect Brian Hedglin stole an empty plane from a small Utah airport, crashing it into a parking lot and then shooting himself, concerns have been raised that the nation’s airports are not as secure as they should be.
According to an article from CBS News, Hedglin used a rug to scale a razor wire-topped security fence and small Utah airport in the middle of the night, slipping past security and boarding an idle, empty 50-passenger SkyWest Airlines jet and revving the engines. While the plane never left the ground, the situation was shocking enough.
The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t require airports to maintain fulltime surveillance of perimeter fences, leaving airport security largely in the hands of individual facilities, the CBS article states.
Among the several security lapses in the incident, the plane should also have been locked and secured if not in use. Local authorities are investigating the breach.
SkyWest Inc. spokeswoman Marissa Snow said that Hedglin was a pilot for the airline since 2005, but was placed on administrative leave since July 13 – the day police found the body of his girlfriend, stabbed multiple times, in Colorado Springs.
While Colorado Springs police requested that SkyWest deactivate his access cards should he attempt to show up at the airline anywhere in the country, how the 40-year-old was able to gain access to the plane remains unclear.