A China Airlines flight was aborted on the runway after a man ran out of long grass and jumped onto the landing gear as the plane was about to take off this afternoon, November 2.
At 1:35pm, flight CI028 from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport to Palau was preparing to take off when the pilot of an Asiana Airlines plane spotted a man running out of the grass and mounting the landing gear of the plane.
The Asiana Airlines pilot immediately informed the control tower. The China Airlines pilot aborted the flight, and aviation police rushed to the scene.
When police officers arrived, the man was nowhere to be seen. The China Airlines pilot was ordered to turn off the plane’s engines, and after the engines powered down, a man dropped from the landing gear compartment and ran across the tarmac.
The police officers chased the man on foot and managed to restrain and arrest him.
The suspect was described by various local media as a white foreigner, with some outlets positing that he is Russian, and others Belorussian.
The man is suspected of being deaf and/or mute, said not a word to police, and was not carrying any documents. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of a reflective vest and several barbecue lighters. Fingerprint and iris scans showed that the man had no records of entry or exit in Taiwan.
The incident caused some flights to be delayed, as the runway was closed until 2:22pm.
The 149 passengers were disembarked to allow a full security inspection of the plane. The flight was rescheduled to depart at 4:20pm.
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