On Saturday afternoon, a man drove a vehicle through a perimeter fence at the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and boarded an airplane, before authorities were able to detain him. The man was wearing a backpack at the time of the incident, Maryland Transportation Authority Police confirmed on Monday.
“Yes, he did enter an unoccupied aircraft,” Lieutenant Kevin Ayd, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA), said in a statement. “The aircraft and the backpack were checked and there was nothing that was alarming.”
The backpack was filled with “papers and personal effects,” and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) concluded that it was not a terrorism-related incident.
The FBI has partnered with the MdTA to ensure a thorough investigation, but is not the lead agency.
Police reported the breach of the perimeter fence, which occurred near Signature Flight Support off Aviation Boulevard on Saturday at 1:30 p.m., but there was no mention that a man had boarded an airplane.
The plane the man accessed was a small-model aircraft that is boarded through stairs on the tarmac and not directly from terminal gates. The name of the aircraft’s owners has not been made public.
The suspect was identified as a 42-year old man from Laurel. The man boarded the plane at Pier D with a backpack, exited the plan without the backpack and reentered the plane before police arrived, Ayd said.
The man was transported to a local hospital, where he remains under “evaluation.”