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A Delaware County man is facing serious charges after a security breach at Philadelphia International Airport. The man is accused of driving his jeep onto the airport runway while intoxicated.
An allegedly intoxicated man somehow managed to drive a civilian vehicle onto the runway at Philadelphia International Airport Thursday morning, authorities say.
Police were called after the black Jeep Cherokee drove into the airfield at about 10 a.m, sources tell NBC10 Philadelphia.
The driver was identified as 24-year-old Kenneth Richard Mazik of Chadds Ford, Pa. He will be charged with driving under the influence, risking a catastrophe, fleeing police, reckless endangerment, defiant trespass, assault on law enforcement and simple assault.
According to police, the whole incident lasted no longer than five minutes, and authorities took Mazik into custody at 11:13 a.m.
Sources tell NBC10 Philadelphia that the Jeep drove through a fence on the airfield and police chased the vehicle down the runway.
Authorities stopped all inbound and outbound air traffic — about 15 to 20 planes were affected — while police searched the Jeep for explosives. None were found, sources say.
Authorities then stopped all inbound and outbound air traffic for a short period of time.
“I don’t trust this guy are you ok if we pull off the runway here in case he comes right at us,” one pilot asked air traffic control.
The FAA says the airport shut down for about 35 minutes Thursday morning after the vehicle was driven onto the tarmac. At the time of the incident, the FAA announced that some arriving flights were delayed an average of 34 minutes because of "security" issues.
This is the black Jeep that Kenneth Mazik drunkenly drove across the tarmac at Philadelphia International Airport, police say:
Philadelphia International Airport released the following statement regarding the incident:
On March 1, 2012, just after 1100 AM, there was an incident involving a civilian who rammed a locked and secured perimeter gate at PHL with his personal vehicle and entered the airfield.
FAA Air Traffic Control was alerted by their ground radar and acted quickly to stop all air traffic to avoid any conflicts.
Law enforcement agencies and Airport operations and security were immediately notified and this person was apprehended within 5 minutes. The driver is in custody and Police report charges are pending.
The Airport’s airfield perimeter security fencing meets or exceeds all federally mandated standards and our airfield is secure. While this was a very rare incident, the various layers of security interacted extremely well to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.
We continually review Airport safety and security procedures with the TSA, Airport Police, FAA and other federal agencies.