6 November 2023

Teen allegedly walked under Canberra Airport plane, made it back to taxi before arrest

| Albert McKnight

The 19-year-old was granted bail last week. She is yet to enter pleas to her charges. Photo: Albert McKnight.

It is alleged a young woman entered a secure area at the Canberra Airport, walked under a plane that was about to take off, then managed to make it back through the facility and get into a taxi before she was stopped.

Court documents have revealed the allegations against the 19-year-old in more detail.

Around 7:30 pm on 1 November 2023, it is alleged she took an Uber to the airport, then entered and spoke to check-in staff, making comments like, “How can I help you?” and “Have a nice day”.

She allegedly walked to a security screening point, failed to present for screening and was challenged by staff.

However, she allegedly ran through the screening point before being challenged by another security member, who then started following her.

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It is alleged the teenager started banging on the doors at Gate Nine, then when she couldn’t get through, she smashed the glass panel of an emergency alarm. This disabled the door and allowed her to get onto the aerobridge.

She allegedly smashed another alarm panel to open a second set of security doors before making it onto the airport’s apron, the area where aircraft are parked.

The teen allegedly ran around the apron area and walked under the fuselage of a plane that had about 100 passengers onboard.

“The defendant placed the aircraft, aircraft crew, passengers and ground crew at risk due to the defendant’s actions,” police claim.

Canberra Airport

The woman is accused of running through the airport on 1 November. Photo: Canberra Airport/Facebook.

She allegedly ran back inside the airport, through the security screening point and out the front of the building to the taxi rank.

In the meantime, a staff member had called police. The officers arrived, found the teenager inside a taxi and placed her under arrest.

“The defendant kept uttering to police, ‘How can I help you’ and, ‘Have a nice day’,” police said.

About $250 damage was caused to the two fire alarms, while her alleged actions resulted in a $1500 callout fee because the fire service had to attend.

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When she applied for bail later last week, ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said it appeared she was experiencing some type of mental health crisis that led her to allegedly engage in conduct that caused a risk of harm to herself and potentially others.

The chief magistrate ordered a brief mental health report for the teenager, whom the media has currently chosen not to name, granted bail and adjourned until later in November.

She was charged with endangering safety by disrupting services at an airport, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ jail.

She was also charged with entering a secure area without permission, possessing cannabis and two counts of damaging property.

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