A man wearing only a pair of boxer shorts managed to crash a stolen pickup into a Southwest Airlines plane parked at Eppley Airfield in Omaha on Thursday.
A man who allegedly stripped to his underpants and scaled a fence at Eppley Airfield (OMA) in Omaha, Nebraska was able to steal a ground-equipment-pickup truck and lead authorities on a brief chase before crashing into a Southwest Airlines plane with 18 passengers aboard. Police say that the suspect was spotted in an agitated state outside the terminal just moments before he undressed and initiated a wild chase on the tarmac.
Omaha Airport Authority Police Chief Tim Conahan told NBC News that the suspect identified as 35-year-old Delairo Koonce was acting “bizarre” when first approached by officers in front of the terminal. Koonce had reportedly been screaming that “people were trying to kill him.” The police chief speculated that Koonce suffered from “some type of drug overdose or that he has mental issues.”
Officers are said to have attempted to calm the disturbed man who instead quickly stripped off his clothes and briefly eluded officers. Some time later, police spotted Koonce climbing the airport’s barbed wire perimeter fence and gave chase. By the time airport police caught up with the underwear-clad trespasser, he had crashed an airline-owned truck into the Southwest flight preparing to depart for Denver International Airport (DEN).
“We are removing the aircraft from service to inspect for damage,” airline officials said in a statement immediately following the strange incident. “We are replacing the crew and the aircraft, and the flight is expected to operate with an approximate three-hour delay.”
According to Southwest Airlines officials, none of the 18 passengers on the plane were hurt, but two crew members suffered minor injuries in the accident. The driver of the stolen vehicle was also treated by EMS at the scene and later taken to the hospital.
[Photo: NBC News]