EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Airport security breach not the first to happen at Sky Harbor

PHOENIX - Thursday night's fence breach at Sky Harbor International Airport isn't the first incident in which an unauthorized vehicle made it onto the runway.

According to Federal Aviation Administration runway incursion database, a handful of unauthorized people have breached the security fence at the airport since 2001. 

THE PEDESTRIAN BREACH

Federal records show a pedestrian was accused of jumping over an airport fence in April 2010 and stealing a US Airways vehicle.  The driver was able to cross over several taxiways before police captured the person.

THE STOLEN VEHICLE BREACH

In July 2005, the driver of a stolen truck crashed through a fence during a police chase.  The driver avoided police gunfire, drove on a taxiway, and crashed through two additional perimeter fences before authorities captured him,

ONLINE DATABASE

The FAA tracks all unauthorized access to runways in an online safety database.   Those incidents are called runway incursions .

Most of Sky Harbor International Airport's runway incursions are considered "low-risk" and involve official aircraft or airport vehicles that were already allowed to be inside the gates.

Of 68 runway incursions since 2001, only three were considered by the FAA as a "serious incident" in which a collision was narrowly avoided.

In one 2006 case, a departing airplane reported "missing" a pedestrian that had been crossing the runway.  According to FAA officials, it is likely the pedestrian worked at the airport or for an airline.

The other two cases (in 2002 and 2006) involved aircraft narrowly missing each other. 

In the 2002 case, one airplane "had to swerve" to avoid hitting another after the pilot had already achieved "taxi speed."

2003 FENCE STRIKE

ABC15 archives revealed a 2003 incident in which a vehicle crashed into an airport gate but did not break through the gate onto the runway.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments