Man scales Mumbai airport wall, walks up to plane on main runway

Parth Khatau, Srinath Rao
A video of the man went viral on social media platforms on Thursday evening. (Source: Screengrab)

In a major security breach, a man appeared dangerously close to a SpiceJet aircraft holding short of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport’s primary runway, as he trespassed on to the airport premises after scaling a wall from an adjoining slum on Thursday.

Around 1 pm, when SpiceJet flight SG 634 departing for Bengaluru was holding short of runway 27 on taxiway N1, the pilots reported the man’s presence to the air traffic control. Following this, the man was intercepted by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) authorities and handed over to the local police.

"The pilots had the presence of mind to immediately turn off the engines of the aircraft (Boeing 737-800) to prevent the man from being sucked in as he came right next to the aircraft. The flight departed at 1.15 pm once everything was clear," said a source. A video of the man went viral on social media platforms on Thursday evening.

Speaking to The Indian Express, a CISF spokesperson said, "The man was of unsound mind and had managed to jump over the wall. He lives in a slum near the airport. There was no injury… the flight went on to depart and operations were not affected." Sources, however, said that there was one delayed departure and two go-arounds following the incident.

Dyaneshwar Khollam, senior Inspector, Airport police station, said that the man stays in a slum in Kurla. "The height of the new toilets built at the slum is at the level of the airport boundary wall. The man climbed up the roof of the toilet and jumped across the wall."

After the man was brought to the police station, the police traced his family and discovered that he is being treated for a mental condition. "The family produced his medical reports and prescriptions. We have let him go back to his family," said Khollam.