Philly Airport Has 25 Perimeter Breaches Over 11 Years: AP

The security fences and gates that protect Philadelphia International Airport were breached 25 times from January 2004 through January 2015, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Few of the breaches have been publicly reported before, with one notable exception: a 2012 incident in which a man sped down a runway at 100 mph, grounding dozens of planes and forcing other to circle.

Philadelphia's breaches were among at least 268 that AP found at 31 major U.S. airports. Incidents ranged from fence jumpers taking shortcuts and intoxicated drivers crashing through barriers to mentally ill intruders looking to hop flights. None was terrorism-related.

Airports say breaches are relatively rare. Security measures typically include fences, cameras and patrols, but there are gaps. Not all of the miles of fences are routinely patrolled or covered by video surveillance.

The 25 incidents put Philadelphia's airport second in the country, after San Francisco International, which had 37 breaches, in the analysis.

Philadelphia officials initially refused AP's request for details of incidents, saying they did not have the information and even if they did, they could not release it for security reasons.

The AP appealed and the state's Office of Open Records ordered Philadelphia to provide many of the breach details AP requested. Philadelphia responded by filing its own appeal in state court.

Six months after AP requested the records, the city settled the case and provided many of the details AP sought.

Nineteen of the breaches involved vehicles striking the perimeter fence. One woman took a turn too fast in 2013, lost control and drove through a fence, nearly hitting a parked plane.

Other cases include an elderly woman who drove through the security gate in 2006, believing she was on her way to shop at Sears.

An intoxicated woman waited until someone drove out of a gate, then walked into the secure area, where she was arrested in 2012. The gate guard's supervisor was disciplined because the guard had not been paying attention.

Two intoxicated people drove into the airfield in 2012 before police escorted them out. The year before, two people who had been at a nearby nightclub drove right past a guard gate and into the secure area to ask for directions.

The man who sped down the runway while more than 75 planes waited in the sky for him to be caught was arrested, convicted and served 16 months in federal prison.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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