This past Saturday a man was spotted climbing around on the wing of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 while the plane was on the runway awaiting takeoff. After clambering around on the wing a bit and attempting to climb the winglet, he dropped heavily to the ground and was apprehended by airport officials. While I’m sure he had a perfectly good explanation for why he decided to do this, that has not been released as of yet.
It appears the man, whose identity has not been released, jumped a perimeter fence around McCarran International Airport and made his way onto the tarmac. Security doesn’t seem to be too tight around those runways.
Here’s some video of the whole thing, shot by a passenger inside the plane:
Oh, man, that’s just bonkers. I do appreciate that he made an attempt to cling the winglet, then determined that the best way to do so would be to remove his shoes and socks, which he discarded off the side of the wing, to get some better grip on the slick aluminum skin with his bare feet.
It’s also remarkable that security teams sent three other guys onto the wing to apprehend the guy — if you’ve ever wondered about the strength of airliner wings, this should be a good demonstration that they’re plenty strong, unaffected by four adults walking along them. I’m sure aerodynamic stresses are far more demanding than a guy doing something stupid and three cops.
After the guy’s drop from the wing, paramedics took him to a medical facility, and police suspect that either drugs or a mental issue were at play here, which is not really much of a leap.
The 12:30 p.m. flight was delayed over four hours, eventually leaving at 4:48 p.m., allowing time for the airline to inspect the wing, which is not usually open for pedestrian travel.