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Florida Airport Shut Down After Man Hops Fence, Boards Plane

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Police arrested a student pilot Thursday after he jumped a fence at an airport in Brevard County, Florida, and boarded a plane undergoing maintenance.

A witness saw the man, who is described as college-aged, boarding Airbus A321 in the Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul Center at Orlando Melbourne International Airport around 2 a.m., according to CNN.

Police apprehended him and shut down the airport while a robot searched through the man’s car in the parking lot of the airport, which is about 70 miles east of Orlando.

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The student pilot’s car was later placed on a flatbed truck, according to WPLG. All flights were suspended as security performed a sweep of the airfield.

According to WPLG, airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said the man was born in Trinidad and entered the United States from Canada.

She said he had a Florida driver’s licence.

Booker said the incident did not appear to be a spur-of-the moment lark.

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“There obviously seemed to be planning involved,” she said, according to CNN.

The airport was on lockdown for about five hours.

Despite the incident, Booker said the airport was having no problems as the work day began.

At a news conference about 7 a.m., according to CNN, she appeared confident there would be no more problems related to the intrusion.

“We are now a fully functioning airport,” she told reporters. “We believe in this instance our security worked just fine.”

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According to CNN, a spokesman for American Airlines, which owns the Airbus, said the jet that was illegally boarded was in the maintenance center for “Wi-Fi issues.”

The airline referred further questions to the FBI, CNN reported.

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