Homeless man runs on to Phoenix airport tarmac, slaps plane engine

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jets line up at Sky Harbor International Airport in...

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 passenger jets line up at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, April 2, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Scuteri

David Schwartz, Reuters

, Last Updated: 7:37 PM ET

PHOENIX - A homeless man was arrested after running onto the tarmac just after a Southwest Airlines plane landed at the Phoenix airport, police said on Thursday.

Robert Bump, 49, hit the plane with his hand before being taken into custody on the taxiway at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at about 5:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday, said Officer James Holmes, a Phoenix police spokesman.

"He slapped the engine with his hand," Holmes said. "He really didn't do any damage."

The man had a history of alcohol-related arrests and authorities believe he may have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the arrest, Holmes said.

Airport officials told police they saw Bump climb the fence at the airport, run onto the tarmac and taxiway and approach the Southwest Airlines plane as it stopped en route to the terminal, Holmes said.

The pilot was advised of the approaching man and turned off the aircraft's engines, Holmes said.

Bump was quickly apprehended, police said. He was booked on suspicion of entering a restricted area.

This was not the only incident involving unauthorized access to an airport facility this week. On Wednesday, an individual crossed a fence and made his way across two runways at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport, authorities said on Thursday.

In a statement, the Port Authorty of New York and New Jersey, which operates area airports, said it was investigating the incident.


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