22-year-old tries to steal a passenger jet at US airport

Police: Foreign student pilot had to be dragged from aircraft in criminal attempt to steal a plane

Police: Foreign student pilot had to be dragged from aircraft in criminal attempt to steal a plane

The 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago national who has been charged with attempting to steal an American Airlines aircraft at the Melbourne Airport in Florida, wanted to use the aircraft to "harm himself".

But after he was dragged from the plane, he broke free, running back toward the jet.

"There is no evidence to indicate a connection to terrorism", Melbourne Police Chief David Gillespie said at a news conference.

That question is the first step in security protocol, according to Major League Baseball spokeswoman Lori Booker, if someone sees a person who appears out of place in any airport.

U.S. law enforcement authorities said that Nishal Sankat, had parked his auto about 150 yards from the plane early on Thursday and kept it running before jumping the airport fence.

All employees and passengers were removed from the terminal during the incident, which caused two flight delays and interrupted airport operations for about five hours.

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According to Melbourne police, Sankat is a senior at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he enrolled in 2014 and eyed a graduation in 2019, according to Florida Today. His father, Clement Sankat, is a former high ranking administrator at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.

Sankat's father and family have since issued a statement vie the Trinidad Express Newspaper: "Professor Clement Sankat and his family appreciate the many inquiries and calls of support they have received as they go through this extremely hard period".

The family also thanked those who had reached out during this "extremely hard period".

Local sources said that investigators will liaise with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents based at the American Embassy in Marli Street, Port of Spain to secure information on Sankat's life and upbringing in Trinidad.

In a statement issued to the Trinidad Express newspaper on behalf of the family, Sankat's parents said they were not sure what had transpired and the incident "acutely underscores to the family the need to be aware of the challenges young students face, especially those living away from home and family". According to the FAA, he had received a commercial pilot's license in January, but he was not qualified to fly this type of plane.

Melbourne is 112 kilometres southeast of Orlando. It was not immediately clear if Sankat had obtained an attorney. Nishal Sankat was charged with "criminal attempt to steal a plane" Thursday. His bond is set at $20,500 on the three charges.

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