Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teen Avoids Airport Security, Winds Up Falling Out of Plane

TSA workers will posthumously subject him to an aggressive patdown, just to cover all their bases.
A month after the mangled body of a North Carolina teenager was found in a quiet Milton neighborhood, Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating said yesterday that evidence indicates he stowed away in the wheel well of a plane and fell from the sky as the landing gear came down on the approach to Logan International Airport.

A shirt stained with what appeared to be grease used in airplanes and believed to be Delvonte Tisdale’s was recovered yesterday, along with sneakers, scattered along the flight path, Keating said. The items were found about a half-mile from where the 16-year-old’s body was discovered on Brierbrook Street on the night of Nov. 15, authorities said.

Fingerprints and a handprint were also discovered in the left wheel well of a Boeing 737 commercial airliner that left Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and landed at Logan about two hours later, Keating said. Investigators are still awaiting test results to confirm that the prints are Tisdale’s, but Keating said it appears likely that they are.

The conclusion that the teenager’s death was not believed to be a homicide, as initially thought, quickly shifted the focus of the investigation to the Charlotte airport and the Transportation Security Administration.

“It appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach airport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet airliner without being detected by airport security,’’ Keating said during a press conference, calling it a major breach of airport security.

Keating said that it was unclear how the teenager was able to get onto the tarmac and climb into the wheel well undetected at a time of heightened security, but that the probability that he did so raised troubling questions about the potential for a terrorist attack.

“There is great concern that with all of our efforts for security and the almost invasive type of efforts that are occurring right now, that something like this could happen,’’ said Keating, who will be sworn in next month as the new congressman from the 10th Congressional District.

He added, “It’s a terrible tragedy, what happened to this young man, but if that was someone with a different motive . . . if that was a terrorist, that could have been a bomb that was planted, undetected. This is very serious.’’

No comments: