Aviation News

August 13, 2012

Jet Skier Breaches JFK Airport Perimeter, Wanders to Terminal 3 Undetected

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Written by: Phil Derner Jr.
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A man that was stranded on a disabled jet ski in New York’s Jamaica Bay managed to breach perimeter security at JFK International Airport Friday night, in what is surely an embarrassment to airport and security officials.

Daniel Castillo, 31, was arrested at JFK’s Terminal 3 after becoming stranded on his jet ski, forcing him to swim to the closest lights and land, which happened to be the airport’s runway 4L, according to the NY Post. Upon reaching shore, Castillo climbed an 8-foot fence, walked across the runway, then also across runway 31L and eventually to Terminal 3, almost a 2-mile walk. It was only then that a Delta employee spotted the man in his bright, yellow lifejacket, which led to his apprehension by Port Authority Police.

Questions now are raised as to why the Port Authority’s $100 million Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS), loaded up with closed-circuit cameras and motion sensors, failed completely, and how a man can walk such a distance unnoticed.

This is not JFK Airport’s first perimeter breach, however. In early 2009, a trio of boaters ran ashore at the airport, wandered across a runway and showed up at the Port Authority Police rescue station themselves. They had become lost in their inflatable fishing raft during a storm.

Former NYPD veteran and former MTA deputy security director told ABC News “I think he should be given dinner and a bottle of champagne for showing us our faults,” but after a 3-mile swim, breaching an airport perimeter and a 2-mile walk in heavy, wet clothes, perhaps he should be given a trophy and a Navy SEAL Trident as well.

No flights were delayed, nor service interrupted, during Friday night’s breach.

About the Author

Phil Derner Jr.
Phil Derner founded NYCAviation in 2003. A lifetime aviation enthusiast that grew up across the water from La Guardia Airport, Phil has aviation experience as a Loadmaster, Operations Controller and Flight Dispatcher. He owns and operates NYCAviation and performs duties as an aviation expert through writing, consulting, public speaking and media appearances. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.



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  • PierreBus

    That quote from the “Former NYPD veteran and former MTA deputy security director” restores a little bit of my faith in humanity. In the end, they need to hire more people and let go of all this technological security junk. Saves money (taxes) and creates real jobs. Nothing beats having strategically placed people with a pair of binoculars. For 100 million dollars, I could hire 50 people (3 shifts of 16 people each), pay them 100k$/year for 20 years. Comes out to the same amount (50x100k$x20years=$100M). I bet my 50 people with binoculars catch more things and can save more lives and report on more things/birds/whatnot then their 100 million detection system. .. or spend the 100M$ in Africa, see how many kids who die from hunger/thirst we can save each day. This is ridiculous.