- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Perimeter security was breached five times in the past decade at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, including twice last year, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Last October, an intoxicated 22-year-old woman drove a car through a guarded gate, then to a terminal gate, near where planes with passengers were taxiing. The month before, an airport worker found a man who had jumped a fence walking on a taxiway.

Nationally, AP found there have been at least 268 perimeter security breaches at 31 major U.S. airports between January 2004 and January 2015. Incidents ranged from fence jumpers taking shortcuts and intoxicated drivers crashing through barriers to mentally ill intruders looking to hop flights. None was terrorism-related.

Airports say breaches are relatively rare. Security measures typically include fences, cameras and patrols, but there are gaps. Not all of the miles of fences are routinely patrolled or covered by video surveillance.

The incidents at Seattle-Tacoma, according to incident reports obtained under records act requests, were:

- On Oct. 25, a 22-year-old woman drove a car through a guarded gate, striking an exiting airport vehicle. She then drove to a terminal. Arresting authorities said she and her passenger were visibly intoxicated. “I am so dumb,” the driver told officers. “My mom is going to kill me.”

- On Sept. 8, an airport worker found a 26-year-old man walking on a taxiway. He had jumped a security fence about 300 feet away from a terminal gate. He told officers he wanted to catch a flight to the Philippines.

- On June 22, 2009, a mother threw a pack of cigarettes to her son, who was working inside the secure area.

- On Dec. 3, 2006, a man told authorities he was “having a bad night” and “just felt like crashing through some gates.” He did so in a 2003 BMW.

- On Oct. 20, 2005, a person was found walking inside a secure area.


Associated Press writers Martha Mendoza in San Jose, California, and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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