In what appears to be a serious security breach, an individual managed to get out onto the wing of an Alaska Airlines flight. The incident happened yesterday in Las Vegas, shortly before the aircraft’s scheduled departure. The man appears to be intoxicated or mentally ill.
The unidentified man was not a passenger of this flight. The aircraft, registration N253AK is an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990ER. It was performing flight AS1367, from Las Vegas to Portland. The flight had a 12:30pm local departure time.
— Brooke Knight (@SkipperBK13) December 12, 2020
According to the passengers and local news reports, the man used a car to break through the airport perimeter. It is not known if this was his own vehicle. Other reports say he climbed the fence. However it is quite apparent that the man is intoxicated, or has a mental condition. It is also unclear how the man actually got onto the wing. However, he managed to get there after the aircraft left the gate.
It is not clear how long the episode lasted but it happened just before the aircraft would take runway 7L, for take-off. The pilots saw the man approaching the aircraft and notified the tower. The man then initially wandered around on the wing itself, before Las Vegas Metro Police officers followed him.
Dealing With A Person On An Alaska Airlines Wing…
When the man climbed on the wing the crew would have to shut down engine No1. We can see that the aircraft is ready for take-off, with Flaps 5 selected. As the incident progressed, Las Vegas tower closed runway 7L. Other aircraft had to cross the runway from taxiways closer to the terminal, to use runway 7R for take-offs. The incident lasted long enough for emergency services to get to the aircraft.
The police got onto the wing using the aircraft’s overwing exits, as we can hear in the video. As we can see, the man eventually slips and falls to the ground from a height of around 4 meters. Passengers say that he appeared to be OK as the police took him to custody, with little more than a bleeding nose. After the incident, the aircraft returned back to the terminal. Pilots and engineers had to check that there was no damage to the wing or the engine, from these events.
The flight finally took place with a delay of four and a half hours, according to FlightRadar24. So the episode ended with no victims, but this is a serious security incident. We saw earlier this year an incident where a police chase took part in another US airport. And of course there was the passenger who opened an exit and climbed out on the wing, in the Ukraine. Finally, there was the tragic Southwest incident with an aircraft coming in to land. The authorities will examine these events and try to learn from them.
You can watch Mentour Pilot’s report on the Las Vegas incident, in the video below:
Spyros Georgilidakis has degrees in Business Enterprise and Management. He has 14 years of experience in the hospitality and travel industries, along with a passion for all-things-aviation and travel logistics. He is also an experienced writer and editor for on-line publications, and a licensed professional drone pilot.